The Ministry of Agriculture’s Deputy Permanent Secretary in Support Services, Edison Wotho, said the ministry is seriously implementing its communication strategy in order to reach every section of the community.
He revealed that they are now reaching over 20,000 people with hearing challenges through the television programme ‘Tsa Temo Thuo’ (through Sign language interpreters).
Wotho said apart from publications, Radio and Television programmes, the ministry has seen the need to improve its communication with stakeholders by introducing Braille.
He said that for a long time, some section of the society did not enjoy government programmes due to their disabilities.
Wotho stated that their mission is also to improve agricultural productivity through technology development and transfer, diversification and commercialization, in order to promote food security in partnership with stakeholders.
“As a ministry, we have to admit that in our attempt to provide service to our customers, there are some sections of society that do not enjoy the services we are providing to attain food security,” he said.
Wotho added that it is not a deliberate move to alienate them.
“Some of these people, apart from being human like all of us, do not know our policies and programmes,” he said.
He added that the ministry has a variety of programmes that include, amongst others, the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD) and the Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID).
Wotho said despite the government efforts to increase food production, the contribution of the agricultural sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to be cause for concern.
“The ministry is currently restructuring to ensure that districts are given more focus. It is our considered view that this restructuring exercise will help us become very close to our customers: the farmer,” explained Wotho. He said due to financial constraints, they started with translation of the two flagship programmes, ISPAAD and LIMID, but not meaning that when one is disadvantaged “sight wise” that person cannot utilize ISPAAD.
“As long as that person is alive, he/she needs food to survive,” said Wotho.
He announced that the Ministry of Agriculture has, through its library as part of its attempt to create a knowledgeable society this year, donated 674 books to schools, and government departments and the books cover a variety of subjects on agriculture. He added that they donated most of the books to schools because that is where their next agricultural entrepreneur is groomed.