NAIROBI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's defense forces will enhance surveillance along its coastline to ensure that development of blue economy, key to achieving food security, is not interrupted by emerging security threats like piracy, officials said on Wednesday.
Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary for Defense, said a secure coastline is key to stimulating growth of productive sectors of the economy like agriculture, fisheries, transport and manufacturing.
"A vibrant blue economy falls squarely within our government's big four agenda especially food security and manufacturing. Our blue economy strategy seeks to harness locally available marine resources to create wealth and new jobs," Omamo remarked.
She spoke at a roundtable for foreign envoys attached to Kenya to explore bilateral cooperation in maritime security and blue economy.
Omamo said Kenya has developed a robust policy and legislative framework to facilitate prudent utilization of marine ecosystem to address endemic challenges like hunger, malnutrition, unemployment and diseases.
She noted that the vast resources in the territorial waters can be harnessed to propel growth of fisheries and pharmaceutical industry.
"The blue economy can deliver real benefits to Kenya like trade, new industries and job creation. But we must secure our territorial waters to ensure they deliver on those benefits," Omamo told envoys.
She noted that growth of Kenya's blue economy is hampered by a plethora of threats like piracy, illegal fishing, discharge of toxic waste, maritime terrorism and climate change.
"All these threats exacerbate poverty, hunger and under-development. They precipitate revenue loss and encourage uncontrolled migration," said Omamo, adding that regional cooperation is key to tackle maritime threats effectively.
Kenya has borrowed international best practices to develop its blue economy and achieve social and economic benefits outlined in the country's vision 2030.
Mwangi Kiunjuri, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Irrigation, said the government has prioritized development of supportive policies, infrastructure and man power to stimulate growth of the blue economy.
"We look forward to coordinated exploitation of marine resources to achieve our transformation agenda," Kiunjuri said.