- Ruto spoke during the National Youth Service 86th passing out parade at the NYS paramilitary academy in Gilgil, Nakuru County.
- He acknowledged that the graduates had gone through field units where they received orientation on the national food security and agro-industrial agenda.
In order to contribute towards the country's food security and agro-industrial agenda, the National Youth Service ( NYS) will place 720 acres of land under irrigation.
Making the announcement on Friday, President William Ruto said the country had high expectations of the impact of NYS participation in transformative ventures.
Ruto spoke during the National Youth Service 86th passing out parade at the NYS paramilitary academy in Gilgil, Nakuru County.
He acknowledged that the graduates had gone through field units where they received orientation on the national food security and agro-industrial agenda.
"I am encouraged to note that the NYS now intends to place 720 acres of land under irrigation to support maize, potato and soya bean seed production and multiplication," he said.
This, Ruto said, is in addition to imparting training in vital fields including aeroponics, climate-smart agriculture and research.
"It is important that this new venture succeeds, it is cost-effective and does not exert inordinate budgetary pressure," he added.
In February, a report from the Parliamentary Budget Office said only nine per cent of Kenya’s irrigable land has been developed.
The Budget Options for Financial Year 2023/2024 and the Medium Term report said Kenya has an irrigation potential of 1.342 million hectares but only 120,503 hectares have been put to use.
It added that even the already developed hectares have not been fully utilised.
The report said expanding and rehabilitating irrigation schemes across the country will expand farmers' production opportunities and mitigate risks, thereby enhancing food security.
"In order to support the increasing population in the face of reducing farmland size, it is critical to embrace intensive agricultural production which is possible only with the provision of water for irrigation," the PBO recommended.
The NYS will also be involved in the national tree planting campaign by growing one billion trees over the next five years.
The President said the trees will be planted on a 40,000-acre land.
Ruto intends to plant 15 billion trees, to raise the forest cover to 30 per cent by 2032.
He launched the initiative in December 2022, dubbed Forestry and Land Restoration Acceleration Programme.