Honorable Felix Koskei, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am delighted to join you at today’s rollout of the Agri-Nutrition Resource Manual for Trainers. USAID is proud to have partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health to create a toolkit that helps rural Kenyans improve their nutrition and resiliency. Healthier people are better able to adapt to survive periods of drought or famine. For 50 years, the United States has partnered with the Government of Kenya to reach our joint development objectives. This is one more example of how we can work together to realize a better future.
The Agri-Nutrition Resource Manual and Toolkit is an important step toward teaching households and communities how to integrate nutrition more effectively into their everyday lives. Improved nutrition reduces lifestyle diseases and builds the resiliency of rural families, helping them endure times of drought or high food prices.
Our joint effort has already equipped and empowered more than 4,000 county experts and trainers to reach 50,000 households over the past nine months. Trainers conduct cooking demonstrations and provide households with practical information on how to establish and maintain a kitchen garden. Rural families have already established more than 17,000 kitchen gardens across 16 Kenyan counties.
We want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health for leading the rollout of the agri-nutrition manual and for having the vision of incorporating elements of household nutrition within their community outreach efforts. The Ministries’ agriculture extension staff and community health workers will contribute enormously to the success of greater household nutrition. To further good nutrition practices, our partnership has also established three nutrition radio programs in Nyanza, Western, and Meru, which broadcasts in the local language.
The agri-nutrition manual and the local nutrition radio programs are just two of the many activities that USAID’s Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project is implementing to improve the food security and nutrition of 200,000 smallholder farmers. The project also helps farmers grow more and better quality fruits, vegetables, and flowers, with a special focus on strengthening the value chains related to eight crops: sweet potato, Irish potato, passion fruit, mango, banana, tomato, cabbage, peas and beans. The project is also working to expand the processing of horticultural produce, link small-scale farmers with local and export markets, and improve the overall agricultural policy environment.
In general, the project works to enhance the overall competitiveness of the horticulture sub-sector to expand Kenya’s economic growth and improve the livelihoods of Kenyan smallholder farmers. The project would not be effective without our close partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and we thank them for inviting us here today.
In conclusion, let me take this opportunity to congratulate the Kenyan Government for its continued efforts to create an environment that enables businesses to thrive. USAID looks forward to our continued partnership for a more competitive horticulture sub-sector and for a healthier Kenyan population.
Last updated: January 22, 2015