January 20, 2017, Nairobi. The National Farmers Award Scheme is a unique collaborative activity between the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock&Fisheries and Elgon Kenya Limited. The partnership identifies and recognizes farmers across the country who have excelled in transforming from subsistence to commercially and market-oriented farming.
The role of farmers, both smallholder and large-scale, in the development of rural economy cannot be gainsaid. The proportion of sales from small farms to total marketed production has remained stable over the last five years, having been estimated at just over 70 per cent in each of the years.
This indeed means that overall;vthe bulk of agricultural production isvsourced from small holdings acrossvthe country. It’s in thisvrecognitionvthat the National Farmers Award Scheme was designed jointly by the Ministry and Elgon Kenya Ltd, the main sponsor of the event.
It is therefore important to create forums like this to recognize and honour outstanding talents and minds in the sector. It motivates farmers who have invested in and embraced farming as a business. It is a learning process which provides an opportunity for exchange of information, skills and innovativeness, which in the long run will improve agribusiness.
This award scheme should go a long way in making the farmers and other actors proud of their occupation. I assure all the stakeholders in the award scheme of Government commitment to support them. The Government appreciates the important role the private sector plays in supplementing its efforts.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries fully supports this Private Public Partnership. I thank the organizers of the event for bringing the farmers together and for identifying the various competitor categories under which their outstanding qualities have been recognized.
The competition factors are mainly on wholesome development of farm models in the various agro ecological zones, networking among the sector stakeholders, and technology transfer. Since the 2013, the Youth, Women, and physically challenged in Agriculture winners have been awarded their trophies and certificates by H.E. the President during the Nairobi International Trade Fair held annually.
As we award winners I want to encourage other farmers to work harder to become winners. Those who have not won yet will win next time. I urge all the stakeholders to join us in making the partnership a big reward to our farmers and all the players in the food chain who deserve recognition for toiling to feed the nation and grow the economy.
I most sincerely congratulate all the 2016 competition winners and also thank all those who supported and participated in the competition process and ensured that the scheme is a success. Indeed I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Bimal Kantaria, the CEO of Elgon Kenya Limited for his tremendous support to the scheme. In addition, I recognize the commendable work done by the Scheme secretariat which has ensured that this joint venture by the National Government, County Governments and the Private Sector is a success for four consecutive years.