Deputy Irish Ambassador in Kenya, Lisa Doherty, yesterday addressed the inaugural food security and nutrition conference in Nairobi.
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the Ministry of Agriculture are co-hosting the 2-day event at the Safari Park Hotel which concludes today.
Themed “Stimulating agricultural productivity in order to boost food & nutrition security”, the conference has been discussing food security and investment prospects in Kenya.
Speaking at the event, Ms Doherty said: “Food is one of Ireland’s key investment industries. We believe in sustainable agriculture & given that we are food secure, we export over 90% of what we produce.
“One of the key factors that has helped Ireland become food secure is technology and learning. Scientific solutions are key in agriculture but equally as important is farmers using that technology and passing on what they have learned,” she added.
Research shows that one-third of the people living in East Africa are classified as chronically undernourished, even with the marked improvement in nutritional status over the last decade.
In Kenya, there has been a dwindling of food especially since the discovery of the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) in 2011.
MLND affects maize production by stunting growth since the maize plant leaves can no longer effectively synthesise nutrients killing the plants. The conference has brought together a wealth of knowledge and experience which will help efforts to address the issue that has made Kenya become an importer of its staple food.
Following her address, the Deputy Irish Ambassador said she was “honoured to speak at National Food Security Conference on Ireland’s transformation into a food secure and hugely successful food exporting nation, and the lessons learned for Kenya’s Big Four Agenda.”