MOMBASA ASK SHOW

Lack of title deeds hurting food security in Mombasa, says cleric

Baya says many farmers also suffer from exploitation by middlemen who take advantage of perennial drought, poverty and land disputes to oppress them

In Summary

• The cleric urged farmers to embrace smart farming methods because of the land problems.

• Mombasa ASK show opens on Wednesday and will end on Sunday.

Mombasa ACK Bishop Alphonce Baya addressing the press after receiving officials of the Mombasa International Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show who had gone to have their produce blessed.
Mombasa ACK Bishop Alphonce Baya addressing the press after receiving officials of the Mombasa International Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show who had gone to have their produce blessed.
Image: KNA

Lack of land ownership documents remain the biggest challenge facing people in the coastal region and this has affected farmers and food security, a cleric has said.

Mombasa ACK Bishop Alphonce Baya said the government still has a long way to go to ensure coastal people have land title deeds. This is despite efforts by the Kenya Kwanza regime to address the problem.

“Land is a factor of production and without land ownership then we cannot say we have attained full independence,” the cleric said.

Speaking after the Harvest Festival service at the Mombasa ACK Cathedral Sunday, where officials of the Mombasa International Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show had gone to have their produce blessed, Bishop Baya asked the government to hasten the process of titling.

“There are still many areas that experience these land problems, especially the coastal counties,” he said.

He said many farmers in the region also suffer from exploitation by middlemen who take advantage of the perennial drought, poverty and land disputes to oppress the already desperate farmers.

“If the government resolves the land problems, these brokers and middlemen will have no one to take advantage of because the local farmer will be empowered,” Bishop Baya said.

The cleric urged farmers to embrace smart farming methods because of the land problems.

Mombasa ASK Show chairperson Anisa Abdalla said preparations for this year’s event are in top gear, with President William Ruto expected to officially open it on Thursday.

The show opens on Wednesday and will end on Sunday.

It is themed ‘Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture and Trade Initiative for Sustainable Economic Growth’ saying it goes hand in hand with the government’s plan to develop farming and trade.

Abdalla said this year’s public agricultural show has received a record 1,200 schools that have confirmed participation.

“This is mainly because of the Competency-Based Curriculum that focusses on hands-on experience, for which there will be plenty to learn for the students,” she said.

Abdalla said they expect many guests owing to the confirmations and the aggressive marketing they have done.

“This time, we are the ones who went out to entice the exhibitors to come unlike in previous years, where exhibitors were coming to us to ask for space to display their goods and services,” she said.

Abdalla urged schools to take advantage of the show to expose the learners to the practicals of what they teach the learners in school.

She said lessons on smart farming, agribusiness, and climate-smart technologies that can be applied in agriculture will be on show.

“We are at the Coast which has perennial problems of hunger and drought in Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, and Tana River counties. This is the opportunity for farmers to come and enhance their knowledge on the required drought-resistant seeds,” Abdalla said.

Mombasa county commissioner Abdirazak Jaldesa has assured visitors of security which has been beefed up in the county.

 Jaldesa said there will be uniformed police officers and others in plain clothes, private security company guards, and CCTV.

Bandari Sacco CEO Joseph Bii urged Coast people to attend the show in large numbers to learn more about financial solutions to agriculture provided by the Sacco.

“We have agricultural, investment, and financial products for farmers.

We will give real solutions to farmers at the Coast,” Bii said.

He said one of the biggest products for farmers at the Coast is cashew nuts and they are mostly small-scale farmers.

“We have business loans which are cheap and flexible because we know that farming is dependent on rains and sometimes rains fail. This means we can adjust our terms and conditions according to the rain patterns to suit that coastal farmer,” he said.

In the blue economy and specifically the fishermen, there are products and savings procedures tailor-made for the fishermen.

Kenya Medical Research Institute acting deputy director in charge of corporate communications James Wodera said they will be putting up a show for the public who will learn crucial things about some of the health challenges they face.

“We would like them to come to see how our motto “In search for better health” is being translated to have an interface between agriculture, health and technology,” he said.

Wodera said this way, the public will better manage their environments and save a lot of money that would otherwise be used to treat easily preventable diseases.

Mombasa International Show exhibitors are from the following industries including manufacturing, tourism-related enterprises, the fishing industry, the banking sector, import and export, transport and communication.

The show focusses on climate-smart agriculture, promoting best farming practices for crop, tree, and livestock production and marketing.

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