- The country has been grappling with a shortage of extension officers but Kangi said training many farmers together is more beneficial.
- Kangi, however, said farmers are more keen on export products than those consumed locally.
Use technology to produce good quality food that will appeal not just to local but international markets as well, farmers have been urged.
Douglas Kangi, director of Crop Resource Management at the State Department of Agriculture, said food and nutrition security go hand in hand.
"You cannot reduce hunger without addressing food safety. Most food losses happen because of not observing good practices that address food safety along the value chain—from production to consumption," he said.
Kangi spoke during World Food Safety Day celebrations at Kaguru farmers training centre in South Imenti constituency, Meru county, where he was the chief guest on Wednesday.
About 3,000 farmers attended the training on food quality.
The theme for this year is 'Food standards save life'.
"The genesis of food systems begins from the soil, whether they are livestock food systems or crop food systems. For us to get healthy food systems, we have to address it using the value chain approach, that is, preparation of soil, seeds and how we manage growth, harvest, processing and packaging," Kangi said.
He said the country has technologies to improve food quality and standards.
The country has been grappling with a shortage of extension officers but Kangi said training many farmers together is more beneficial.
"Bringing together about 1,000 farmers and extension officers and other experts in one forum and learning covers in a day what would have taken a lot of time," he said.
Meru county director of agriculture Eugene Bundi said they have one extension officer per ward in the 45 wards.
"We are working to have more extension officers so they can encourage the youth to venture into farming," he said.
Kangi said the country's food is safe but the ministry is doing more to make it safer.
"As a ministry, we are putting in place measures to make it safer so that we can attract more markets outside the country," he said.
"We have formulated a food policy that is now [before] the Cabinet for further directions."
Kangi, however, said farmers pay more attention export products than those consumed locally.
He said they will train farmers on the dangers of applying excess chemicals to crops.
Agro-chemicals Association of Kenya chief executive officer Erick Kimungui said farmers are important for the nutrition of the country and need to be heard.
He said the lobby group is working towards better farming, better food and better health.
Kimungui said standards not only save lives but also facilitate trade.
He said when farmers misuse products they are reflected in the maximum residue limits tests.