Agriculture CS requests farmers to grow avocados to meet high demand in France and European countries
The CS said the national government would promote farming of avocados by licensing the establishment of seedling nurseries.
He explained that there was high demand for avocado produce in France and other European countries and emphasized of the need by the farmers to venture into farming.
“The market of avocado is so huge and the government is determined to ensure the farming thrives,” Mr Bett told Kirinyaga residents.
Mr Bett was speaking at the Kimbimbi Mwea Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation in Kirinyaga on Thursday as he led a Japan delegation to a tour of the region widely known for growing the best rice nationally.
The Agriculture boss praised the Japan government for partnering with Kenya to boost rice farming, a staple of many Kenyans.
Kenya and Japan are set to construct Sh20 billion Thiba Dam at Rukenya village to boost rice farming in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme.
Once the project whose construction is scheduled to kick off in August is completed, Kenya will double rice production to enhance food security.
Nyandarua Governor Joseph Ndathi told the CS that his county is the leading producer of horticultural produce in Kenya and the national government should agree to hand over to his devolved administration the two multi-million green produce depot at Kimbimbi and Sagana to benefit the farmers.
Currently, Mr Ndathi lamented that the facilities have been rented by individuals who were charging farmers exorbitantly to preserve the green produce.
In response, the CS said the national government was willing to work with the county to improve farming in the region.
The Agriculture CS also took the opportunity to decry the pervasive land grabbing vice that has afflicted his ministry.
Hundreds of acres of land belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture across the country have been grabbed and allocated to private developers.
Mr Bett said some of the land which as has been grabbed is meant for cotton, fish and livestock research.
In Kirinyaga County alone, 200 acres of land located at Kirogo village meant for cotton research has been illegally acquired.
Some of the illegal beneficiaries have put up industries, residential and commercial buildings while others have grown crops on the grabbed lands.
Mr Bett described the illegal land transactions as shocking, adding that his Ministry is the worst hit by the vice.
“This is corruption of the highest order and the National Land Commission should intervene,” CS Bett told journalists at
The CS said a list of all grabbed parcels of land was being compiled so that it can be submitted to the Lands Commission for action.
Mr Bett noted that corruption involving land transactions was rampant in Kenya and it may take long to eradicate because the lands commission lacks adequate capacity.
“For the Commission to be able to handle this menace effectively it should increase its capacity otherwise the matter is complicated,” he said.
Mr Bett said 100 acres of land for the livestock department in Ngong and another land for Kenya Meat Commission have also been acquired irregularly.
“I’m telling you the situation is bad all over the country,” exclaimed the Agriculture boss.
However, Mr Bett said corruption is a society issue and should be handled in a sober manner without engaging in a blame game.
Mr Bett told the delegates that agriculture still remains the major economic activity in Kenya and it should be safeguarded at whatever cost.