Kenya challenges global financial institutions to increase investment In agriculture
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged global financial institutions to ramp up investments in agriculture as part of their support for African economies.
In a pre-recorded video statement delivered Thursday evening during the virtual inaugural United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit held on the margins of the ongoing UN General Assembly (UNGA 76), the President urged financial institutions to suppport the innovation and design appropriate mechanisms that will help eliminate risks and losses in Africa's agricultural sector.
“To support transformation of our economies, I would like to challenge our global financial institutions to innovate and design appropriate de-risking and financing instruments for increased investment in agriculture especially on the African continent,” President Kenyatta.
The President said as part of Kenya’s commitment to investing in sustainable and resilient food systems, his administration has developed a food systems call to action that is data driven, inclusive and innovative.
He added that Kenya’s unique food system encompasses rich and diverse diets as well as a climate resilient livelihoods plan, a combination that has ensured significant progress towards 100 percent food and nutrition security in the country.
The President listed five strategies the country has deployed towards enhancing food production systems among them the provision of relevant information to farmers and traders through national e-voucher programme as well as extension and advisory services, market information systems and commodity exchange services.
President Kenyatta said the Kenyan Government was determined to fully re-engaged the youth in food production through the revival of 4-K and Young Farmers clubs so as to ignite their passion for agriculture and teach them about healthy diets.
“We are also increasing access to nutritious foods and diversifying the diets by bringing back forgotten and neglected traditional foods, investing in fisheries, aquaculture, livestock, fruits, and vegetable farming,” President Kenyatta said.
He added that his Government had also expanded school feeding and school milk programmes.
“As the global youth champion, I am pleased that Kenya is taking leadership in the School Meals Coalition as a critical driver to institutionalising nutrition-based school feeding programmes in all participating countries,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said the Government had harnessed the power of innovation and digital technologies in agriculture as well as fostering an environment that allows innovators to contribute to agricultural transformation.
“Using mobile technologies, we are equipping our farmers with information on markets and inputs. We will further use these apps in the deployment of extension services across our country,” the President said.
The Head of State said that as part of Kenya's climate smart agriculture, the country was accelerating ecosystem restoration through agroforestry, reforestation and sustainable utilization of natural resources
In his keynote address, UN Secretary General António Guterres urged the global community to prioritise emergency food and nutrition supplies to areas affected by conflicts and climate emergencies.
“We need to invest in early warning famine prevention systems and we need to shockproof all the systems that contribute to nutrition,” Mr Guterres said.
He decried costly and inaccessible nutrition that lead to poor consumer choices and urged governments to work together with businesses to increase access to healthy and diverse diets.
“Changing food systems is not only possible, it is necessary for people, for our planet and for prosperity,” the UN Secretary-General said.
Other peakers, among them DR Congo President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi who is also the Chairman of the African Union and President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly Abdulla Shahid, committed to the promotion of sustainable and resilient food systems so as to attain thee global goal of zero hunger by the year 2030.