The ministry will raise awareness about the safe use of pesticides - Beaking Kenya News

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Sunday, 11 August 2019

The ministry will raise awareness about the safe use of pesticides

This week, Chief Secretary of Agricultural Research Hamadi Boga answers your question.


1. The Ministry of Agriculture this year established regulations for several plants including pyrethrum, Irish potatoes and miraa. However, research is not taken into account. What are you doing to embed research in agriculture to ensure that farmers get good results and better value for their money in this sector? And Murugu, Nakuru

The research was well captured in the design of our Agricultural Policy and the Growth and Transformation Growth Strategy (ASTGS), which was recently launched as a support in the process of increasing productivity, accessing markets and also reducing the impact of climate change.

Kenya's agriculture will only gain a competitive advantage if we invest in good genetics, embrace climate smart technology and understand the dynamics of local, regional and global markets for agricultural commodities.

The State Agricultural Research Department is working to utilize the knowledge generated over the years from the national agricultural research system (including Kalro, universities, and the CGIAR Center) and translate it into extension materials that target various value chains.

2. The current debate is about the causes and mitigation measures in increasing cancer cases. Some argue that many of the pesticides used in agriculture might contribute to this. What do you think about this and how do you try to solve this problem? Moris comment, Eldoret

Cancer is caused by a number of factors. Some of them are genetic (inherited) while other cancers are induced through carcinogens.

Carcinogens are physical (radiation), chemical (certain compounds) or biological (viruses). Common products that we use such as alcohol, processed meat, red meat, and tobacco are common grade 1 carcinogens.

I think every cancer case must be seen independently because every cancer patient has his own history. I would not encourage generalization.

The Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) is responsible for the approval of pesticides for use in the country after a rigorous process, which took almost two years.

PCPB, Kephis, and the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) will increase awareness campaigns about the correct use of pesticides.

Cancer research is an area in which we need to invest and develop the competencies needed to contribute to a global understanding of this disease.

3. Food security is part of the President's Big Four Agenda, how do you plan to align your ministry's policies with issues surrounding the challenges in corn farming? Moris comment, Eldoret

Corn is a low-value plant. You only make a real profit if you do more than 100 hectares and achieve 20 bags per acre up.

Those who do less than that should only grow corn for their own consumption at the domestic level to assure themselves of food security, but not for commercial purposes.

Kenya has the highest per capita corn consumption in the region, 95 kilograms. An average family of eight will need eight bags per year. This is about Sh24,000.

They can make a lot of money by growing high-value crops. Noting that only five percent of Kenya is very suitable for corn, we need a paradigm shift, so that corn becomes a large-scale crop as we expect it when we encourage farmers to embrace high-value crops.

More than 60 percent of corn farmers are net consumers of corn. The Ministry of Agriculture plans to work with countries that are most suitable for maize production to intensify planting, so as to bridge the yield gap.

Using the Regional Crop Suitability Map, we will work with districts to guide them towards the value chain where t

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