It goes without saying that the Agricultural Sector in Embu County and Kenya at large continues to play a very important role in the Embu and Kenyan economy. The sector is critical in Embu economy contributing over 70% of Embu economic base and generation of foreign exchange earnings and directly contributes about 26% of the GDP and accounts for 65 % of total export earnings country wide. The sector also employs over 85% of Embu rural population and 80% of Kenyan population. Therefore, my Government continues to support this critical sector of our economy.
Food security remains a priority objective for Embu County. These initiatives that have been undertaken by the National and County Governments with support from development partners will go a long way in attainment of food self sufficiency and mitigation of recurrence of food shortages occasioned by droughts and climate change.
Embu County is well placed to allow for surgical measures to mitigate food insecurity due to its diverse agro-ecological zones that allow the growing of many crops that include maize, beans, sorghum, root crops, horticulture and industrial crops mainly coffee, tea, macadamia and cotton.
Apart from the conventional agriculture, many households have embraced the production of agricultural products using modern technologies such as greenhouse, water harvesting and drip irrigation for high value crops. The benefits accruing from these new technologies will go a long way in increasing farm incomes and improving the livelihoods of the County citizens.
Training of farmers, extension officers and other agricultural stakeholders is a continuous and essential in agricultural development in order pass, share and put in practical new and emerging agricultural technologies and information that are developed and sourced from research station , institutions and other stakeholders. Embu County has an Agricultural Training Center(ATC-Embu) and it provides residential and non-residential training on relevant farming technologies, on-farm technology trials, bulking and multiplication of crops and livestock and generation of revenue for self financing of commercial activities.
Embu County Agriculture Department has come up with initiatives to implement Youth Policy by putting in place modalities to engage the youth in productive activities such as Youth in Modern Agriculture Projects and involvement in Agri-businesses in line with national youth policy. Towards this end, gender and youth policy is under formulation for the youth to take advantage of these initiatives of the County Government, in order for them to be gainfully engaged and avoid underutilized labour. This will go a long way in employment creation.
When growing the rural economy, we should concentrate on our own growing population, the increasing demand for quality protein foods abroad and therefore a rapidly expanding market for Kenyan produce. These are all fantastic opportunities for Kenyan farmers and producers.
Developments in crop breeding and precision agriculture that might then have been viewed as science fiction are now clearly science fact; a science you are harnessing to meet the challenges of one of the oldest of human activities – growing the food we eat. Because protecting our environment is one of the best illustrations of grassroots action. We all have a responsibility to shape the future of that environment.