The incomes of small holder farmers in Kenya are set to grow after China offered to help them adopt modern production methods as well as value addition equipment at subsidised costs.
Despite calls for Kenyan smallholder farmers to embrace new technology, the high costs of special equipment have for years stood in the way, consequently crippling production.
Chinese Technology Companies, who spoke at a China-Kenya conference on agriculture cooperation in Nairobi, however, said they would cooperate with Kenyan farmers to promote the uptake of modern irrigation technologies alongside the development of a home-grown agro-processing industry at low costs.
The general manager of Sino-Kenya Agriculture Technology Company Zhu Weicai said the plan would also see agriculture companies from China collaborate with smallholder farmers in Kenya to enhance food production.
“China has increased its yields and enhanced its food security and this can be replicated in Kenya,” said Dr Zhu.
The managing director of Lanzhou Jintudi Plastic Company Jin Xinhai said Chinese firms were already on the ground exchanging technology with groups of farmers in Kenya.
“If China has revolutionised its own agriculture sector cost effectively, Kenya too can do it,” said Mr Jin.
Speaking at the forum, Industrialisation CS Adan Mohamed said Beijing’s input is critical to transforming agriculture, which is the bedrock of Kenya’s economy. “Our bilateral cooperation with China in agriculture has grown tremendously to cover wide areas such as research, training and transfer of appropriate technologies,” said Mr Mohamed.
The forum was attended by a 45-member Chinese delegation to discuss cooperation in agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
The Chinese team, which comprised officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Research Institutions And Agro-industry, had earlier visited farms in Nairobi and in the Rift Valley.
Mr Mohamed noted that China’s rapid modernisation of its agriculture sector has been an inspiration to developing countries that have been grappling with under-investment and low technology uptake in agriculture.