National and regional governments are committed to working with intergovernmental organizations, farmers and private stakeholders for the thriving of the agricultural sector, the backbone of Kenya’s economy.
During the Fourth Intergovernmental Forum on Agriculture in Mombasa, Cabinet Minister for Agriculture Peter Munya said that the country is still lagging behind in terms of food security, which is why cooperation needs to be strengthened to achieve a modern agricultural sector that has a 100- percent nutrition supports safety.
Munya said that the transformation of the sector requires the widest possible stakeholder participation, which will provide an opportunity to reflect on the transformation of the sector.
“We still have some gaps to fill to reach our goals. The sector is struggling with drought, locust invasion and the pandemic. By taking appropriate and timely action, we can achieve our goal. The United Nations Food System Summit demonstrated our commitment to making food security a reality. I therefore encourage stakeholders to consider all findings when supporting our collaboration,” Munya said.
The CS said the e-voucher system introduced by the government has seen changes in the way agricultural government subsidies are distributed.
He noted that there is also a notable government approach to scaling data and digital technology to increase agricultural productivity.
“We also initiated the strategic food reserve reforms through the digital data platforms. From the 3rd IGF one of the decisions was the introduction of a youth strategy; We’ve rebranded the 4K clubs for investment and business,” Munya added.
He commended the President for taking a major step towards improving the sector by including food security as one of the Big Four agenda.
Munya encouraged the private sector to get involved in the collaboration and said there is still a long way to go.
“The key challenges we need to address are climate change by taking various interventions and mitigation measures, working with our livestock farmers to change their attitude to how they treat their animals during the drought season, solving the problem of quality fertilizers and animal feed and getting young people interested in farming by making it seem like a business,” Munya said.
The Chairman of the Board of Governors’ Committee on Agriculture (COG), Dr. James Nyoro, who is also the governor of Kiambu County, said the counties have agreed to allocate at least 10 percent of the budget to improving food security systems.
Nyoro also said COG is committed to ensuring the country has a gross domestic product (GDP) that is largely driven by agriculture.
“The problem is that we have an increase in people living below the poverty line due to a lack of growth in agriculture and manufacturing. By putting more money into agriculture, intrastate and interstate coordination will help transform the sector,” he said.
Nyoro said COG has urged development partners not to fund areas where national and regional governments appear to have competing or dual roles.
“Those jurisdictions that have done well on agri-food conversion include the monitoring and evaluation aspect. It’s important that we hold people accountable for the money we’ve given them. We should be responsible for telling people about the resources put into farming, how far they have come and what progress is being made,” he said.
He added that progress in bridging the gap between food production and consumption is noticeable.
“But we still have a long way to go, the gap is still large. We import staple foods that could be produced in the country. The government should ensure these gaps are filled as the population is also increasing,” Nyoro said.
The governor said COG favors a major overhaul of the farm sector. He said the council is pushing for the shift of subsistence practices to commercial farming systems.
“We also need to agree that for the sector to thrive, we need to have standards of an international nature. We should also have our destiny to say where we are going in terms of improving the sector. We still have a long way to go in terms of cash crop competitiveness,” he added.