NAIROBI, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Friday that his government will use science and technology to empower farmers as part of the efforts to achieve food security and nutrition.
Kenyatta said the new approach will enhance agricultural productivity by targeting small scale farmers with new technologies.
"In order to achieve growth in the agricultural sector, we must resort to new thinking by relying on innovation and mechanization," he said during the opening of Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD) National Conference in Nairobi.
The president said the new approach will mean moving away from the old policy of using subsidies as the only method to boost production.
"We must rely more on scientific data to drive our policy interventions on input subsidies and strategic food reserves," Kenyatta said.
He revealed that Kenyan farmers will be empowered through the availing of information to help increase their output per acre, reduce their unit cost of production and improve returns on their investment.
Kenyatta said the government is seeking ways to support the revival of crop and livestock extension services, which hold the key to improved productivity as they help improve the knowledge base of farmers through a variety of means, such as demonstrations, model plots and training.
The two-day event was attended by 400 participants from national Government, County Governments, development partners, beneficiary farmers and pastoralists.
Kenyatta called on policy makers and regulatory authorities in the agricultural sector to open up to new ideas, and benchmark national standards with countries that are food sufficient.
Kenyatta further called on research organizations in the country to get more involved towards the transformation of agriculture.
He cautioned on the use of subsidies, adding that they have previously majorly benefited the rich but not the small scale farmer who are crucial in the country's resilience.
He noted that Kenya has research institutions that are reservoirs of information, technology and innovations that have been accumulated over the years which if applied can revolutionize agriculture.
The Kenyans leader urged the international and national agricultural research institutions in the country to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and the County Governments to help initiate development focused programs to assist in implementing the Government's Big Four Agenda on Food and Nutrition Security.