Speaking during an Agriculture Summit held in Nairobi, Bett said the crops which include millet, sorghum, cassava and arrowroots are key to ensuring that the country is food-secure in the prevailing circumstances of changes to the weather patterns.
“We are providing the seeds to encourage farmers to grow these crops because they are more resilient to drought. They are also nutritious,” he said.
Bett said the crops can thrive in low rainfall areas and thus effective for growing under harsh weather conditions such as long seasons of dry spell and limited water levels.
He said the ministry has engaged research institutions to come up with improved varieties that are more water efficient and can withstand certain conditions which come as a result of climate change.
The orphan crops are considered as the traditional staple foods which used to be largely grown by the forefathers centuries ago but were abandoned for the cash crops.
However, the rising temperatures, persistent drought and unpredictable rainfall patterns have affected their productivity exposing many households to hunger and leaving others in a vicious cycle of poverty.
Reviving the traditional crop farming would protect the farmers from the harsh realities of the climate change, the CS said.
“The government is preparing itself to address climate change by doing research on crops that can do well in water scarcity areas such that we are able to sustain production of food in all areas,” he said.
The East African nation also seeks to address climate change through research and distribution of the orphan crop seeds, the jobless are equally targeted to embrace farming to cushion themselves from effects of unemployment.
At the summit whose main objective was to address various challenges in the agricultural sector, investment in farming activities was recognized as a means of escaping from arduous job search experienced especially among the graduates.
Bernadette Mugo, a smart farmer said the jobless can maximize on the small pieces of land available to generate a noble income.
“You can make a million from an acre in three months and therefore I do not see any reason why people should be on walking on the streets looking for jobs,” she said.
Unemployment levels among Kenyans below 35 years are still above 50 percent and it remains a major economic issue in the country, now a low-middle income economy.
Meanwhile, the government said it has started an ambitious project to ensure all schools in the country are connected with safe water supplies. Only 9,000 out of more than 22,000 schools in the country have water supplies.
Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said the project comes hot on the heels of the Nationals Schools Electrification Project, which has now achieved its target, to connect all schools with electricity.
Wamalawa told the summit that the pilot of the ambitious project has already been launched in the three North Eastern counties where 50 schools are targeted, noting that Kenya has set aside 10 million U.S. dollars to kick start the project, which is estimated to cost 500 million dollars nationwide.
He said the government’s policy is to increase the number of Kenyans with access to clean water supplies by 10 million within the next three years. Enditem
Source: Xinhua/News Ghana