• April 16, 2024
  • Last Update April 16, 2024 4:05 PM
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Collaborative partnership encouraged in promoting soil health, says PS Ronoh

Collaborative partnership encouraged in promoting soil health, says PS Ronoh

Murang’a, Thursday, March 14 KNA by Anita Omwenga

Agriculture Principal Secretary (PS), Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh, has said that enhancing access to fertilizer and mitigating the deterioration of soil health, required concerted efforts by all industry players.

Ronoh said the deterioration of soil health impedes food security, agricultural productivity growth, and environmental sustainability in the country.

He said that fertilizer is a critical component of intensive and sustainable agricultural systems, allowing greater productivity from existing land under cultivation.

The PS said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Director of Agribusiness, Gilbert Muthee, Thursday, during the International Fertilizer Development Center’s (IFDC), inaugural open door event in Nairobi, which also marked the Organization’s 50th Anniversary of developing agriculture from the ground-up.

The event brought together diverse stakeholders from the public and private fertilizer industry, donor communities and development organizations.

Ronoh said the role of fertilizer market players in both the public and commercial sector has evolved, in particular, with the growing understanding of the vital role of sustainable soil health management.“

By working together with partners to bridge the gap between research, smallholder farmers, and market systems, we strive to solve the greatest food security issues facing the world today,” said Ronoh, adding that IFDC has been at the forefront of developing solutions that contribute to food security and economic growth.

The PS divulged that since the early 20th century, Africa, Kenya included, has experienced widespread decades-long decline in soil quality of farmland thus negatively affecting the agricultural production capacity and food security.

He further said in 2021, fertilizer consumption for Kenya stood at 60.7 kilogrammes per hectare or 25 kg per acre.

However, he noted there has been a positive upward trend in fertilizer use by African countries, contributing to the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and food security.

Ronoh said that the Ministry’s collaboration with other partners has enabled IFDC to advance food security, create job opportunities and improve incomes among smallholder farmers.IFDC President and CEO, Henk van Duijn, while speaking about the Organization’s interventions, said IFDC aimed at offering innovative solutions to challenges in fertilizer and soil health for governments, implementing partners, the fertilizer industry, farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, and technologies.

“Our vision is to research, develop, and transfer nutrient use efficiency and soil health technologies to nourish a world of nearly 10 billion people by 2050,” he said.

He said IFDC continued to play a proactive role in advancing agricultural development in Kenya, directly and indirectly contributing to local economic growth by enhancing food and agricultural productivity through the application of effective and environmentally sustainable crop nutrient technologies and agri-business expertise.

IFDC Country Director, Kenya, Bridget Okumu, said since its inception in 2009, IFDC Office in Kenya has consistently played a vital role in advancing the national agricultural agenda by cultivating a strong connection with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and other key partners.

“The Office has actively contributed to the development and implementation of innovative tools for accessing fertilizer data, such as the Kenya Fertilizer Dashboard,” she noted.

She added that the Office offers information on fertilizers availability and statistics for soil and plant nutrition that benefit farmers, entrepreneurs, and the environment.

Okumu said in Kenya, IFDC interventions were focused on substantially increasing the production of high quality food by minimizing waste and losses in agricultural resources, such as water, land, seeds and fertilizer.

“IFDC advocates for climate smart and resilient farming systems and technologies among smallholder farmers to mitigate the adverse environmental impacts associated with agricultural productivity,” she said.

She said currently, IFDC implements several key projects and programmes in Kenya including, Potato Value Chain Capacity Building, project, Towards Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (2SCALE), The Africa Fertilizer initiative and CGIAR Food System Accelerator program (Ukama Ustawi).Former IFDC Board of Directors member Prof. Ruth Oniang’o while speaking at the same event said IFDC began in 1974 with a mission to improve soil health and fertility and crop nutrition in tropical regions.

Oniang’o said “since then, the organization has grown to encompass an array of agricultural solutions including fertilizer technology development, market development, project implementation in the field, policy development among others fostering collaborations and building strategic synergies across borders.

The open door event showcased IFDC innovative technologies from cutting edge fertilizers to sustainable farming practices that align with and support Kenya’s national agriculture agenda.

Courtesy; KNA

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