The President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenya;
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Irrigation, Mwangi Kiunjuri;
ILRI Director Jimmy Smith;
All other partners;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Mabibi na Mabwana,
I am very pleased to join you today as the United States renews its commitment, as a partner, to help improve the lives of Kenyans through investment in agriculture, livestock, and agribusiness.
More than five years ago, we announced Kenya as a focus country under our Feed the Future initiative. Since then, the United States has worked with the national and county governments, private sector, and civil society organizations to help make Kenya more food secure, to ensure every Kenyan has access to adequate food, and to give Kenyan farmers and pastoralists opportunities to increase their income.
Together, under the program, we have reached 900,000 Kenyan farmers. We helped them grow better crops and increase milk production, and then get those products to market. All told, working with partners we leveraged over KSH 22 billion in new investment to the agriculture sector.
I saw the results of our program first hand just a few days ago, when I visited with a dairy farmer, Charlie Gembe, in Migori. Charlie was growing maize on a small plot, but he wasn’t producing much and he wasn’t making much money. Now, thanks to our program, Charlie is growing an improved fodder for cows. And, he’s making a lot more money… money he is using to help his family, for example, to pay fees for his son’s schooling. And his improved fodder is helping dairy farmers in Migori produce more and better milk. This is good news for everyone.
Our program, USAID’s Accelerated Value Chains Development program, was put together with the idea that cutting edge technologies — developed by international research centers– can improve food and nutrition security as well as the incomes of farmers and pastoralists.
And the program has worked. Here are a few more achievements so far.
For example, the project introduced dairy production in areas that were traditionally non-dairy by helping farmers protect cows against disease, expand the use of artificial insemination, and increase the availability of extension services so they can get help when they need it.
In the livestock sector, the project partnered with county governments to develop electronic disease surveillance systems and grazing management plans that have greatly reduce animal mortality during droughts and enhanced the resilience of communities.
The project has developed drought tolerant crops in the semi-arid areas, significantly reducing the dependence of people living there on food assistance.
And, the project helped revive potato farming in several counties, boosting incomes and improving food security.
I know the two days of this conference have allowed all of you to reflect on the successes and challenges the program encountered and what should be done next.
The reality is, that while much has been accomplished under AVCD and other Feed the Future programs, and significant gains were made, much more work needs to be done. Going forward, it is essential that Kenya’s economic growth be inclusive, and that all Kenyans benefit from it.
And, the United States will be right here with you, as a partner and friend. In that spirit, today, based on the successes and lessons learned over the last five years, I am very pleased to announce a second five-year Feed the Future program under the new U.S. Global Food Security Strategy. We will invest KSH 11.5 billion in the program, which will focus on reducing poverty, improving nutrition, and increasing the food security of Kenyans. Kenya is one of only 12 countries selected as a partner in this strategy. Today’s launch, here at ILRI, is our very first across the globe.
The new U.S. Global Food Security Strategy in Kenya will directly support President Kenyatta’s Big Four pillar of food security and the priorities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. As Kenya’s agricultural economy continues to mature, agro-processing will also contribute increasingly to the manufacturing pillar.
Under the new strategy, we will work with the national and county governments plus the private sector to increase the access and availability for farmers and agribusiness to markets, quality farm inputs, and finance. We will bring technical expertise and resources from across the U.S. government to help implement this strategy.
Thank you to everyone for being here today to reflect on lessons learned through implementation of the AVCD program and to launch our new strategy and partnership to promote agriculture and livestock with goal of increasing food security and reducing poverty in Kenya.
I would like to specifically thank Dr. Kiome and ILRI’s Director General Jimmy Smith for their partnership in the design and implementation of the AVCD program.
And, I commend Cabinet Secretary Kiunjuri on his leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, and thank him for his vision and diligence in updating the National Agriculture Strategy. This will help development partners, the private sector, and county governments align their activities in support of our shared goals.
Finally, I want to offer a special thank you to President Kenyatta for his leadership and for the plan he has laid out to make Kenya food secure. The U.S. government looks forward to partnering, delivering results, and holding one another accountable to our common goals in the Big Four and the Global Food Security Strategy. Together, we are working to ensure every Kenyan is food secure. And, together, hand in hand, we are building a better world for both Kenyans and Americans.
Pamoja tusonge mbele.