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I am happy, on my own behalf and the people of Kisii County; to join the

rest of the world in observing this important annual event of the World

Food Day.

This year’s World Food Day theme is “Change the future of migration:

Invest in food security and rural development.” The world is on the

move. More people have been forced to flee their homes due to increased

poverty and search for better livelihoods. But an increase in extreme

weather events linked to climate change is another important factor

contributing to the migration challenge; as you can recall the cases of the

recent drought, army worms, Fall Worms, among many others.

Large movements of people today are presenting complex challenges,

which call for a pluralistic approach. Many migrants arrive in Kisii County,

creating tensions where resources are already scarce, but the majority,

move within our county rather than from outside.

Three-quarters of the extreme poor base their livelihoods on agriculture or

other rural activities. Creating conditions that allow rural people, especially

youth, to stay at home when they feel it is safe to do so, and to have more

resilient livelihoods, is a crucial component of any plan to tackle the

migration challenge.

Rural development can address factors that compel people to move by

creating business opportunities and jobs for young people that are not only

crop-based (such as small dairy or poultry production, food processing or

horticulture enterprises). It can also lead to increased food security, more

resilient livelihoods, better access to social protection, and reduced conflict

over natural resources and solutions to environmental degradation and

climate change.

Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce

more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely.

It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage

through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage,

packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as

institutional and legal frameworks.

FAO is calling on countries and our Kisii County in particular; to address

food and agriculture in their actions plans and invest more in rural

development. Rural to urban migration has negative impact on natural

resources, from declining water supplies and quality to soil degradation,

underlines the increasing importance of using these resources sustainably.

Kisii County Government has come up with various interventions to fight

migration while investing in food security and rural development.

It has assisted our farmers construct and stock fish ponds across all the

wards in the county. It has also given farmer groups in all the wards solar

dryers for value addition in both vegetables and fruits. Furthermore, all the

wards were given complete sets of greenhouses, over 60,000 tissue

culture bananas and 15, 000 Hass avocadoes. It is hoped that very

soon the intervention of the County Government of providing subsidized

A.I will go a long way in improving our local breeds of dairy cows thereby

increasing milk production and creating jobs for our rural youths.

This year alone, 50,500 livestock and 232,300 birds; have been

vaccinated against Foot and Mouth, Lumpy Skin, Newcastle, Gumboro and

Rabies diseases. Due to stringent disease surveillance, no notifiable

diseases have been reported. This implies that farmers have been

cushioned from loss of livestock due to infectious diseases thus stable

income and improved productivity for farmers.

The cooperative societies are key in supporting agricultural growth. Kisii

County has more than 227 registered cooperative societies with an

annual turnover of Kshs 2.8 billion. They are involved in the marketing of

pyrethrum, coffee and milk amongst other agricultural commodities. I

encourage farmers to form commodity marketing groups and cooperatives

in order to enhance their access to inputs and produce marketing

bargaining power and higher returns in agricultural enterprise investments.

The world aims to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 and therefore migration is

a challenge that must be addressed in order to continue the fight against

hunger and achieve this goal.

In conclusion, I would like to call upon the Department of Agriculture and

other line departments, our stakeholders, farmers and all those who
contribute in one way or the other towards enhancing food security and
development of the rural areas to work together to ensure sustainable
socio-economic development for Kisii County as we enjoy the benefits of