Only Jubilee’s manifesto addresses food security challenge, DP Ruto says
Deputy President William Ruto has said that importing maize is a short term fix to the food production crisis plaguing country, saying that Jubilee is the only party with a long term solution to the food security challenge in its manifesto.
Speaking during an interview on Citizen TV on Sunday, July 2, DP Ruto said the government will shift from relying on food imports as a solution since it negatively impacts local production capacity.
“When importing we must strike a balance such that we procure enough so that we do not oversupply and harm our local farmers. Our competitors manifesto does not address issues such as subsidization of fertilizer, irrigation and they are against construction of dams. I want to assure Kenyans that Jubilee is the only political outfit with the long term solution to the food production problem in Kenya,” DP Ruto said.
DP Ruto said the government has already planned for the construction of 57 dams across the country and the designs are already in place.
However, the Jubilee Party deputy leader was at pains to explain why the country has faced maize shortage in the recent past yet the government had been cautioned by different stakeholders of the looming food shortage because of low production which eventually led to the importation of maize from Mexico and Ethiopia.
“The first thing we did when we formed the government knowing that agriculture and food production is devolved is that we facilitated the smooth transfer of this function a, process that was supposed to take 3 years but we did it in one year because of the importance of food production in the country, today every county has the responsibility to produce food and we have made sure that they have the resources to do it, we have doubled our fertilizer subsidy program.” He said.
DP Ruto said that when he took over as Agriculture minister in 2008, a bag of fertilizer retailed at Ksh 6000 and the Jubilee administration has reduced it gradually to Ksh1800 with plans to bring it down by a further Ksh600 from next year.
“I was Minister for Agriculture in the Grand coalition government and we had a food deficit in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Since Jubilee took over the reins, we have only had a food deficit in 2017 because the drought period stretched longer than we expected,” said Ruto, defending the government.
He said that the government ran into problems with the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme because it needed to deal with Aflatoxin, which in turn required the state to get the right variety of seeds to be used.
“We addressed the water availability issue for the project and deemed it fit to build a dam that will enable us to deploy 1 million acres. We have already sourced for the funding. Currently we are working with 20,000 acres and many people want to term the project a failure but that is not the case,” DP Ruto said.
However, the deputy president acknowledged that the government has not fully realized the Galana-Kulalu project as promised in 2013 but assured Kenyans that the Jubilee administration has expanded area under cultivation by 100,000 acres.