CS Peter Munya and Council of Governors outline major reforms in Agricultural sector

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Council of Governors (COG) have pledged to bridge the gaps in food production and consumption in the country by enhancing efficient use of the resources available in the agriculture sector.

Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Kiambu Governor James Nyoro who is also the chair of Agriculture Committee of Council of Governors have agreed to cooperate in the development and implementation of policy and legal reforms in the agriculture sector to avoid duplicity.

Speaking on Thursday during 4th Intergovernmental Forum for Agriculture (IGFA) in Mombasa, Munya said his ministry in collaboration with the Council of Governors is set to roll out a number of reforms in the agriculture sector in a bid to boost food security.

“The pandemic has disrupted agri-food systems resulting in loss of livelihoods and income and increased food insecurity. The country has also been grappling with the desert locust invasion and drought,” Munya said.

The forum comes at a time when Kenya, like many other countries in the region, is facing unprecedented times due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the CS the challenges facing the agriculture sector include low productivity, high input prices, low mechanization, low access to market and value addition.

“We have resolved to give policy direction on agriculture sector governance issues affecting the two levels of government which will allow for a wider stakeholders’ participation,” he said.

The two-day forum brought together governors, CECs in charge of agriculture in counties, top leadership in the Agriculture ministry, representatives of sectoral ministries, other government agencies, key private sector players and development partners.

The ministry and COG agreed on the need for both national and county governments to enhance the development of climate smart agricultural programmes by involving local communities, youth and women.

They said there is an urgent need for the national and county governments to incentivize the youth to agriculture through innovative financing, training and support the 4-K Clubs and other youth-enabling programs.

“The government is also committed to re-introducing 4-K clubs in schools where learners will also be trained on modern farming technologies to caution on food safety,” Munya said

The initiative will see pupils from primary schools taught on how to grow crops through 4K Clubs, a clarion call to help the country be food secure.

On his part Nyoro noted that there is need to enhance youth participation whereby counties are going to implement 4-K Clubs led by the Governors as the county level patrons.

They also resolved that counties are set to increase and prioritize funding for extension services

The duo pledged to fast-track finalization and enactment of the Cooperative Bill 2021 and implementation of reforms in the cooperative sector which will ensure efficient management of the sector.

The forum also agreed that the national and county governments to develop and enforce soil health management regulations and fertilizer use guidelines

The ministry to fast-track approval of the soil management policy and operationalization of the Animal Feed and Fertilizer Board to enforce regulations, and implement standards and guidelines

“ We are going to engage the Treasury on the reduction or zero rating of taxes and levies on agricultural inputs, machinery, and fishing implements,” the CS said.

They also resolved to increase allocation of agriculture sector to at least 10 percent by the two levels of government with strict adherence to the agreed financial contribution to donor funded programmes

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