The first Agricultural Industry Forum (AIF) and exhibition was officially opened on March 3, 2020, at the Nairobi Hospital Convention Centre. The forum called on designing and incorporating more innovative technologies and increased investment by the private sector stakeholders in the agribusiness sector.
The conference main aim was to provide a national platform for discussions on how best to strengthen and sustain effective partnerships in the agricultural sector in the context of devolution.
Speaking at the opening of the Forum, Israel Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Oded Joseph stated that they will continue to partner with Kenya in undertaking agricultural activities. “Israel being a world leader in the field of agriculture, it will continue to be a significant partner in creating capacity-building opportunities between the two countries.”
He added that in order for an economy to be sustainable and economically viable, the business sector has to play a vital role, the youth have to be involved and basic infrastructures have to be set up to support the agriculture sector.
During the forum, the Chairman of Agricultural Industry Network, Mr. Edward Mudibo called on fast-tracking of the national agricultural policy, which revolves around the main objectives of increasing productivity and income growth, especially for smallholders; enhanced food security and equity, emphasis on irrigation to introduce stability in agricultural output, commercialization and intensification of production, especially among small scale farmers.
Mr. Mudibo noted that platforms, where the private sector, national and county government can activate new strategic partnerships, need to be created for transformational change within the Kenyan agribusiness sector. He also highlighted that governance and the role of cooperatives need to be rethought.
The other key message that came out of the forum was the need to make agriculture attractive to the youth so as to reduce the unemployment crisis. There was the need to develop guidelines for public-private partnerships(PPPs) between county government and the private sector, and actionable strategies to improve the agribusiness sector.
Moreover, the government will establish six agro-processing units within each economic bloc across the country. The units will be developed using a one-stop-shop rapid Public-Private Partnership(PPP) process for local and export markets.