President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday outlined plans to improve food security and cushion farmers against climate shocks like drought.
To fight hunger and sustain an affordable price for flour, President Kenyatta announced that the government would spend Sh6 billion to buy maize offered for sale by farmers under the strategic food security reserve in the 2017/18 season.
Mr Kenyatta also announced that the government had reduced the price of planting fertiliser to Sh1,200 per 50kg bag.
"As part of my administration's agenda to ensure Kenyans have access to food at affordable prices, we have taken steps to improve accessibility of fertiliser to farmers," the President said when he opened the Nairobi International Trade Fair.
The theme of this year's Agricultural Society of Kenya event is "Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade".
He added that the government would spend Sh300 million in combating the Fall Armyworm.
To cushion farmers and pastoralists against the impact of climate change, President Kenyatta said the government had initiated crop and livestock insurance programmes.
He said his government was providing a 50 per cent subsidy in premium payments for crop insurance.
"Already, 243,000 farmers have joined the scheme in the 10 pilot counties in 2016 and 2017," he said.
The counties are Bungoma, Embu, Nakuru, Migori, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Kirinyaga, Meru, Kwale and Kilifi.
Mr Kenyatta said the government planned to cover 31 counties and five million farmers by 2022.
He added that more than 1,000 herders in arid and semi-arid areas adversely affected by the two-year drought were beneficiaries of the livestock insurance programme that cost Sh300 million.
The plan covers Wajir, Mandera, Turkana, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu and Tana River counties.
The President also said the government had signed an agreement with Equity Bank to allow farmers access credit at a reasonable interest rate.
The government had agreed to underwrite loans amounting to Sh300 million and the bank would lend Sh20 million at an annual interest rate of 12 per cent, he said.
Mr Kenyatta added that the government, through the Agricultural Finance Corporation, had signed a partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development to facilitate small-scale farmers access credit.
"The government has identified markets in Germany, China, Russia, Japan and the United States to diversify tea markets," he said.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said he would initiate and implement policies that attract investors and create a conducive business environment.
"We will attract investors by removing obstacles, giving them incentives and creating an environment that can grow our economy," Mr Sonko said.
President Kenyatta said the government had licensed seven cottage factories to process speciality tea while 10 tea factories had installed orthodox production lines.
He said the government had allocated Sh300 million in the 2017/18 financial year for implementing reforms in the coffee industry.
"The reforms are aimed at strengthening farmers' co-operative societies, rehabilitate factories and promote value addition and product diversification," he said, adding that the reforms would improve productivity.