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CS Munya: Our promise to farmers, sector

Saturday February 29 2020

A worker in a maize farm in Nyeri in this past photo.

A worker in a maize farm in Nyeri in this past photo. Food security requires a vibrant, commercial and modern agricultural sector that sustainably supports Kenya’s own economic development and national priorities. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BRIAN OKINDA
By BRIAN OKINDA
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The government will spend Sh440 billion over the next five years to boost farming, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has said.

The CS said the programme is being implemented under the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) 2019-2029.

The strategy, he said, is based on the belief that food security requires a vibrant, commercial and modern agricultural sector that sustainably supports Kenya’s own economic development and national priorities.

The ambitious plan is also in line with the commitments to the Malabo Declaration under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Munya spoke during the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa)-organised National Agriculture Summit in Nairobi, where he explained that the ASTGS has built on lessons learnt from previous strategies with a focus on counties as the centres for implementation and delivery. He believes the strategy will make the country a regional agriculture powerhouse.

“The main approach is to address the effects of climate change and the challenges that constrain agricultural output, productivity and natural resource management in Kenya today,” said Mr Munya.

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He noted that the strategy had shifted the burden of action to the county governments, the private sector, industry players, entrepreneurs, development partners and civil society. The plan prioritises Kenya’s 10-year transformation underpinned by nine big ideas in the context of devolution.

Some of the specific targets include integrating one million farmers in 40 zones producing crops, livestock and fish who will be served by 1000 farmer-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises that provide inputs, equipment, processing and postharvest storage and aggregation.

It will also shift nationwide subsidy to 1.4 million registered high-needs farmers to access inputs and equipment from a variety of private and public providers using e-vouchers with digital service delivery. The ASTGS also seeks to increase agricultural output and value-addition.

The CS said six large-scale agro-and food-processing hubs will be established through a rapid Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) process, targeting both domestic and export markets.

The strategy also seeks to launch 50 large-scale private farms with 150,000 acres under sustainable irrigation, with government-provided infrastructure and protected land ownership.

The recently launched National Farmers Summit will be an annual event and will be co-chaired by input dealers Elgon Kenya Ltd managing director Bimal Kantaria and Agriculture principal secretary Harry Kimutai.

“Through the summit and the subsequent ones, we hope to open up ways through which all stakeholders involved in this key sector can work together to strengthen it,” said Mr Kantaria.