KENYA – The World Bank and India have promised to help Kenya adopt new agricultural technology to boost food production and cut reliance on imports.

Ashok Dalwal, chief executive officer in the Ministry of Agriculture in India, said that the technology will has helped India to boost its food security status adding that this can be replicated in Kenya, reports Business Daily.

Speaking during a South-to-South workshop organised by India and the World Bank, he highlighted water harvesting technology, soil testing and use of micro-irrigation as some of the technologies that can make Kenya a food secure nation.

“India has had tremendous steps in food production, thanks to the technology that we are using. It is the same thing that we want to share with Kenya.

“Micro-irrigation helps to save water by more than half through efficient use of this scarce resource. In India, this method has helped us to double the area under irrigation to 12 million acres, making it the largest in the world,” he explains.

Engineering Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Richard Kanui said Kenya has established several agricultural technology centres where farmers are trained on modern practices.

“This initiative with India has come at the right time when we have 10 innovation centres countrywide, with this partnership expected to help farmers boost their production,” said Mr Kanui.

The World Bank also urged policymakers to draft policies that can promote the use of technology in agriculture and create infrastructure such as mini-irrigation projects to increase production

The World Bank representative said developing nations should share agriculture knowledge among themselves to reduce their research budget.

Agriculture plays a major role in the East African country’s economy and accounts for 33 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

According to an Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy report, Kenya requires about US$2.2 billion to resuscitate the agricultural sector to ensure the country becomes a key regional food producer.

The enormous financial requirements form the bedrock of a new agricultural sector revival master plan that Kenya has developed.

“The strategy is based on the belief that the food security requires a vibrant, commercial and modern agricultural sector that supports Kenya’s economic development sustainably and its commitments to regional and global growth,” the report reads.

The new blueprint states that up to 80 per cent of resources required to revive the agricultural sector will be financed through public-private partnerships in the agro-processing and increasing arable land under cultivation.

In coming up with a new strategy, Kenya is taking the cue from Ethiopia and Tanzania, which have managed to fix the sector by increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers, expanding large-scale commercial farming and investing in agro-processing.