NAIROBI, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan researcher on Wednesday called on the government to increase investments in agriculture in order to boost economic growth.
Tim Njagi, a Research Fellow and Development Economist at the Tegemeo Institute, an agricultural think tank, told an economic forum in Nairobi that Kenya's economy is underperforming due to low public investments in agriculture.
"Increased investments in agriculture will result in an overall economic boost for Kenya given that a significant proportion of the labor force derives livelihood from the sector," Njagi said during the Pre-Budget Hearings for the 2018/2019 financial year that were conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Njagi noted that Kenya is yet to achieve the target of the Maputo Declaration of Agriculture of 2003, where African nations committed to devote at least ten percent of national budgets on agriculture.
He noted that the country has allocated approximately 350 million U.S. dollars or 2.4 percent of the national budget on agriculture for the 2017/2018 financial year.
He added that increasing funding in agriculture will help to unlock the potential of the sector.
Njagi said the majority of food production is realized by small scale farmers who need access to modern technology, markets and affordable credit in order to boost their incomes.
He said additional public resources should be devoted to hire skilled agricultural extension workers who can train farmers on the latest agricultural techniques.
According to Tegemeo Institute, the declining agricultural yields among most crops have made the sector unattractive especially to the the young generation.