County governments urged to take advantage of EU markets
The European Union has expressed its willingness to work with the county governments to set up quality laboratories that will enable farmers to meet the health standards required for the exports of their produce.
According to Kenya’s ambassador to Belgium Johnson Weru, Kenyan farmers stand to gain heavily as agriculture contributes to only one percent of Belgium’s GDP.
“Belgium is nearly the size of Tana River County, about 30,000 square kilometers. Kenya has a great promise to learn out of what Belgians have been able to do to place themselves where they are,” Amb. Weru said.
Ambassador Weru has now urged the county governments to invest in infrastructure to help farmers in their counties control the importation of harmful chemicals that are spoiling their international market and encourage and give incentives to the farmers.
“Farmers money should not be lost in between. I will give them the Euro but I would like the Euro to reach the farmer using the current exchange rate,” he said.
It is in this spirit of ensuring Kenyans gain from Belgium that President Uhuru Kenyatta will be visiting the Port of Antwerp whose size is 20 by 30 square metres but is able to contribute Sh2.2 trillion towards Belgium’s economy annually, all thanks to value addition.
“Belgium is a service oriented country, geo strategically placed in the heart of Europe, they have exploited that to the benefit of their people. Everything that comes to central Europe first of all passes through Belgium. Value addition and support from the government has transformed this country in a manner in which today 78 percent of their GDP is in services,” he said.
President Uhuru is expected in Belgium on Wednesday for a two-day visit following an invite by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk to deliver a keynote address at the 10th cycle of the Development Days owing to Kenya’s steady progress in meeting its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
By Mumbi Warui
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