Africa's agriculture ministers meet in Kenya to boost farm research

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NAIROBI, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Agriculture ministers from Africa met in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, Thursday to discuss ways of boosting research that will benefit farmers in the continent.

The third Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa Council of Patron Ministers meeting gathered ministers from 15 countries to review ways to improve farm productivity and quality of crops to boost food security in the continent.

Mithika Linturi, Kenyan cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, said in his opening remarks that African governments should increase public spending on agricultural research to increase the incomes of farmers.

"Introduction of disease-resistant crop varieties will enable African farmers to reduce losses from insects and pests," Linturi said, adding that the application of research techniques such as advanced seed breeding techniques can contribute to the growth of Africa's agricultural sector.

Josephine Lagu, South Sudan's minister of agriculture and food security, said that Africa remains a net importer of food even as the majority of its population works in the agricultural sector. She noted that the use of high-yielding crop varieties will boost farmers' harvests and reduce reliance on agricultural commodity imports.

Hussein Mohamed Bashe, Tanzania's minister of agriculture, said that Africa needs to prioritize innovations that will develop machinery enhancing output in the continent.

He added that the use of locally developed organic fertilizers will also increase farmers' yields by improving soil health. Enditem

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