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Salim MvuryaIt gives me great pleasure to address you today during the Inaugural Kenya National Conservation Agriculture Conference graciously hosted by FAO.  I take this early opportunity to mention that, as the Council of Governors, we are proud to be gracing this occasion having engaged constructively with FAO and the various stakeholders present. 

 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Conference is an important event since it provides opportunity for the various stakeholders in the agriculture sector to discuss emerging opportunities in conservation agriculture. 
 
In Kenya, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) occupy 89% of the country and are home to about 36% of the population. A good portion of this natural resource base also supports many sectors including 90% of the wild game that contributes to the country’s tourism industry. However, many constraints have and continue to negatively impact the resilience, food security situation and socio-economic development in many parts of Kenya.
Conservation agriculture approaches have been developed over the past 20 years, but uptake has generally been slow. This is due the lack of availability of suitable equipment, fears over weed control and insufficient knowledge and skills by farmers. This offers an opportunity for us all to come together to discuss and strategically plan on increasing the area under conservation agriculture through removing all constrains to low adoption by farmers.
Therefore, there is need to develop transformative leadership capacities to strategically plan, coordinate and manage overall socio-economic transformation and performance of priority sectors in the wake of devolution. Implementation of the right institutional framework is key to success in addressing regional under-development, particularly one which harnesses high-level leadership to transformation in priority sectors and between different levels of Government, and which provides a clear legal framework for policy implementation.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As Council of Governors, looking back at the three years of devolved governance, with pride and satisfaction we can confidently say that as a country we have made significant progress in agriculture. Notable among the gains that Kenyans are celebrating today are devolved resources and decision making, the existence of fully functional Institutional structures, and various projects in the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sector that are aimed at empowerment of women and the youth. County Governments are also working towards providing enabling environment for effective institutionalization and implementation of conservation agriculture technology. We believe other stakeholders will effectively play their roles to ensure success of conservation agriculture.
 
While there still exist numerous challenges in implementing devolution, no doubt, the devolution promise to Kenyans is awake, alive and on course. The two levels of government have been working together cordially, but there’s still need for better understanding, cooperation and deeper collaboration for optimal operations and efficient and effective service delivery to citizenry.
As County Governments, we are ready and willing to synergize our efforts with other stakeholders in agricultural development and the fight against hunger and poverty. Thus, we applaud this initiative by the Ministry, EU and FAO to create this forum for us to celebrate their initiative in conservation agriculture.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to reiterate that this Conference will provide a platform for stakeholders to devise ways of tackling the challenges in the agriculture sector to fully operationalize agricultural strategies in Kenya. 
To realize and nurture the objects and promise of devolution, the Kenya Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Programme (KCALP) which a joint effort between the Government of Kenya, the EU, IFAD and FAO will create continuous synergy and complementarity in the agriculture sector for Increased productivity and profitability of small holder farmers. 
The Council of Governors pledges its support 100% to this project and to any resolutions arrived at during this Conference
Thank you and I wish you fruitful deliberations!

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