Land Resources Information and Services for Land use Planning
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The experience in soil science is based on interaction with some of you professionals in the course of duty, interaction with academic in the universities and my own experience as a small-scale farmer. Although Iam not a soil scientists, I must say that this resource is a domain of interest to every citizen in the region because it literaly ties itself to all sectors of the economy. This is conference is unique and timely in many respects. First, it is organised to address isssues related to "Capacity Building for land Resource Management to meet the challenges of Food Security in Africa". Land cannot be divorce as a resource from agriculture. This brings us to the important role agriculture plays in the economies of our various countries. It is with this in mind that the then Organisation of African Unity (OAD) member states adopted the "Lagos Plan of Action", where agriculture was taken as a top priority sector for economic development. Secondly, the conference is being held at a time when Kenya has just set out an agenda aimed at making the country attain the Newly Industrialised Country (NIC) status by the year 2020. Experiences from other NICs show that the path to industrialization was mainly adding value to agricultural products through developing agro-based industries such as food processing, textiles and clothing, leather products, and beverages manufacture. It is therefore no secret that if Kenya is to attain NIC status as proposed, then we have to vigorously develop the agro-based sub¬sectors. The theme of this conference could not have been any more appropriate in that we have to plan now and target to achieve the NIC status in two decades from now. I can assure you that this is not too far as some of us will still be very young and strong to see it come to pass. Having underscored the importance of this conference, I would now like to focus on the sub-theme "Land Resources Information and Services for Land Use Planning".