Prince of Norway urges farmers to adopt climate-friendly practices

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) situated in Athi-Kapiti Ecosystem has made Kapiti Research Station a treasure trove for Kenyan farmers and agricultural researchers as the institute addresses problems facing farmers and livestock keepers.

The research Centre has played a crucial role in assisting farmers in Kenya and across the globe in improving food and nutrition security through increased production and access to animal-source foods.

Some of the scientific studies undertaken by ILRI range from East Coast fever vaccine, offering livestock-wildlife ecosystems, research on climate change, its effects, and how to avert it. The research Centre has also assisted in improving smallholder dairy farmers’ incomes.

In a rare visit by the Prince of Norway, Prince Hearken, there was an engagement with stakeholders addressing the question of food security and climate change which have been topical issues in recent years.

Ambassador Gunnar Holm cited that the best solution for these issues at hand is through coming together as a people and sharing ideas on how to solve them.

The Prince of Norway in his response exclaimed at how amazed he is after being in Kenya for the hospitality, a tour of Kapiti Ranch, seeing the research center for agriculture, and some of the wildlife crossing by as the ranch acts as a bridge between Nairobi National Park and Amboseli, Tsavo parks.

“The issues of food security and climate change are radical, hence let’s not forget that when one part of the world suffers it also affects the whole globe. There’s urgency for the people across the globe to stand together in dealing with climate crisis aspect, the Norwegian and Kenyan cooperation exchange can enhance growth much better,” commented the Prince of Norway.

Prince of Norway

Food Security

Food security is a question mostly controversial yet still unaddressed fully as there comes a powerful challenge of climate crisis calling for a rapid response in the execution of climate-averting actions.

The prince lauded the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry for Environment about her plan to plant a billion trees, emphasizing that through this the ecosystem shall be re-energized.

Minister Tvinnereim urging the adoption of climate-smart agriculture, took on the conversation highlighting how some of the smart farming methods would come in handy if adopted within the sub-Saharan places.

This will entail the adoption of technology to enhance farming methods and thereby increase yields.  He revealed that towards the end of COP27 an initiative was arrived at for the need to do soil mapping. Soil mapping seeks to assist farmers to select the best fertilizer for their crops.

“The change is going to be advising the farmers on crops that they can do in areas with minimal rain and those that need high rainfall. That is my conviction that Kenyans are quick adopters of technology, the government is going to give better policies and incentives as well as capacity building for the farmers,” said PS Harry Kimtai CBS, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.

PS Harry Kimtai added that the government is working with Research stations to ensure that farmers are equipped with the right tools to aid their production which will, in turn, assist deal with the zero hunger challenge they currently face.

PS Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Mr. Harry Kimtai

“As a Ministry, we have come up with an Agricultural Growth Transformation strategy to assist the farmers by linking them with buyers and at good prices instead of dealing with brokers. Through cooperatives we will manage to buy the farmers extra produce which if not for within the country can also be sold outside,” he added.

According to David Onyunde, smallholder farmers are missing out on production due to minimum updates, instead, they can be involved in research, and advice about how to deal with certain circumstances. Empowering a small-scale farmer through fertilizers, financing and other equipment like machinery will boost yields.

Commenting on the discussion the Cereals and Grains Association CEO Mr. Anthony Kioko said that the farmers have not been benefitting the most from these incentives due to a weak link between the government and the smallholder farmers. He advised farmers to organize themselves in units or groups which will be easy to reach them at the ground level.

Cereals and Grains Association Mr. Anthony Kioko

He further cautioned on the tensely unpredictable future on the basis of the current trends in the farming sub-sector. Most of the farmers are in their 50s and 60s ages as the youths evade careers in farming for the preference office jobs.

“Who will feed us in the next twenty-forty years?” asked Mr. Anthony Kioko. Signaling that such a relationship is beneficial for the farmer in getting information on fertilizers and farm technologies.

The prince lauded the attention given to the issues that challenge the human sustainable life.

“As long as we can find a balance by protecting the environment and enabling nature restoration, this will all assist deal with food production. Health is wealth.”

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