President Mwai Kibaki asks Agriculture Ministry to address food security challenges.

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President Mwai Kibaki has urged the Ministry of Agriculture to consistently implement quality Management systems at all levels in order to address food security challenges in the country.

Speaking today at his Harambee House office during the official unveiling of the ISO 9001: 2008 certificate awarded to the Ministry of Agriculture, President Kibaki said the ministry should use the certification to provide quality services to farmers.

Among the targets set out under the ISO certification is the reduction of post harvest crop losses from 40 per cent to 10 per cent and increment of water harvesting structures from 220 to 460 by the end of this year.

Other targets under the ISO include enhancing customer access to quality farm inputs by 10 per cent by the end of this year and to increase Agricultural productivity and output by 5 per cent annually to attain food security for all through improved extension services and adopting modern technologies.

The ministry of Agriculture’s other quality objectives under the ISO are to increase control of crop pests and diseases by end of the year and strengthening private-public partnerships, improve access to ICT-based Agriculture information and sustainable land use practices.

“The attainment of ISO certification is not an end in itself. I therefore, urge the ministry to continue monitoring the quality management system and institute measures to ensure continued improvement,” President Kibaki said.

The President, at the same time, congratulated the Ministry of Agriculture for attaining the prestigious ISO certification, noting that the ministry is one of the largest with a countrywide coverage to achieve the certification.

President Kibaki also commended the Agriculture ministry for being at the forefront in the implementation of results based management initiatives in the public sector.

The Head of State acknowledged the central role the Ministry of Agriculture plays in promoting the country’s economy.

Speaking during the occasion, Agriculture minister Dr Sally Kosgei reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to promoting sustainable and competitive agriculture to enhance food security, wealth and employment creation.

Dr Kosgei expressed optimism that the measures the ministry has put in place would contribute to poverty reduction by providing efficient and effective services to wananchi through dissemination of information and provision of technical services.

The ISO 9001:2008 standard certification offers the best known management system internationally and in Kenya it is used to complement efforts to achieve results through the Government reforms initiatives under results based management.

Present during the occasion were, Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet Amb. Francis Muthaura, Agriculture Permanent Secretary Dr Romano Kiome and senior ministry Government officials.