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FAO Kenya Marks 40 Years in Kenya

Event highlights 40 Years of partnership with government, stakeholders and the people of Kenya
21/09/2017

The partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Kenya was feted today at a colourful ceremony held at the United Nations Compound in Nairobi, Kenya.

The event was a unique opportunity for dignitaries and representatives from both government and development organizations, farmers, students, FAO staff members and others to interact and reflect over fourty years of FAO’s activities in Kenya.

The guest of honour, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Honourable Willy Bett reminded the participants that FAO’s participation in Kenya dates back before the formalization of the partnership in September 1977.  He praised the “remarkable impact that the collaboration has had on the agriculture sector over the years”.

“As we celebrate this successful collaboration, it is gratifying to note that Kenya has benefitted with more than $130 million in financial support channeled to various food security and agricultural development programs in the country. I also appreciate that through the FAO Country program, Kenya has also benefited immensely from several regional programs and projects funded by other institutions”, he said.

The Cabinet Secretary who was accompanied by other State Department officials went on to add that the Government of Kenya continues to count on the close and continued strategic partnership, towards successful achievement of national goals on food and nutrition security, agricultural growth and development.  He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the full implementation of the Malabo declaration and the Zero Hunger by 2025 Initiative.

Marking milestones, setting objectives for the future

In his remarks, the FAO Kenya representative Dr. Gabriel Rugalema made an urgent call to all partners to reinforce action towards defeating hunger and banish the image of being the epicenter of hunger and malnutrition. Within the context of a drought that has touched up to three million Kenyans and left even more suffering malnutrition across the country, Dr. Rugalema called on all key stakeholders to make food security a reality to those who are hungry and to every Kenyan.

He went on to outline some of the areas that that the organization will prioritize in future, by focusing on collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of agricultural statistics for decision making, boosting production and linking farmers to markets - within the scope of an ever increasing population – in the sub-sectors of crops, livestock, and fisheries.  He also added that the response to climate change and building resilience was imperative given the fragility of the environment and vulnerability of smallholder farmers, who make up the majority of Kenyan farmers.

In his rallying call to action, Dr. Rugalema appealed to those present to step in to make it a reality:

“I appeal to the national and county governments to increase investment in agriculture. I call upon the private sector to intensify investment in agriculture. I call upon donors to maintain funding both for emergency response and long term investment in agriculture. FAO is an unrivalled resource to Kenya and is ready and available to intensify partnership with all partners to support Kenya in the quest to achieve food security”, he said.

40 Years of establishing institutions that support farmers

During the celebrations, various farmers gave testimonies that attest to FAO’s intervention in their communities.  Various farming and agricultural sectors have benefited from FAO’s support through direct technical cooperation projects as well as funding mechanisms that have allowed FAO to support farmers more directly.

Key institutions that continue to thrive since establishment by FAO in partnership with key stakeholders were well represented.  They include the Dairy Training Institute in Nakuru county that was opened in the 1950s as the only regional dairy institute in the English speaking countries of East and Central Africa.

One of Kenya’s key Meat Training Institute (Athi River) established in 1972, was a joint collaboration between FAO, the Governments of Denmark and Kenya. Still functional, it was the first of its kind in meat hygiene and inspection in Anglophone countries in Africa.

In animal disease, FAO’s spearheaded the eradication of the rinderpest contagion through the Global Rinderpest Eradication programme.  This came out strongly as one of the key achievements that the organization is affiliated with both globally and locally – with the last case identified in Kenya in 2011.

FAO Kenya is currently present in seventeen out of Kenya’s fourty-seven counties, and continues to find new collaborations and areas of exploration towards food security and eliminating hunger.

Contacts

Ruth Lehmann | Communications Officer | Food and Agriculture Organization - Kenya Representation|Ruth.Lehmann@fao.org