The Agriculture Ministry remains focused on programmes aimed at increasing production and fulfilling the food security agenda despite recent setbacks such as the Covid 19 pandemic and drought, CS Peter Munya has said.
Munya said since he assumed office his ministry has put in place programmes that have targeted to increase small-scale farmers’ income, increase agricultural output and value addition, and boost household food resilience.
Speaking on Wednesday during the ongoing 4th Intergovernmental Forum for Agriculture (IGFA) in Mombasa, Mr Munya said despite the recent setbacks by desert locust invasion, Covid 19 pandemic and the current drought his ministry continues to spearhead dialogue on sustainable food systems at the county and national level.
“As we take stock of where we are and how we have fared in intergovernmental collaboration in agriculture, we must take cognizance of the cross-cutting issues, particularly climate change, youth and gender, and funding and investment which have significant effects on agricultural development,” Munya said.
The CS said for the last two years, the agriculture ministry has dedicated enough time in creating a vibrant, commercial, and modern agricultural sector that supports 100 percent food security in the country and as part of Jubilee government’s Big 4 Agenda.
“We can all agree that an improved quality of life through agriculture is our common goal; and, for this reason our aim is to ensure that food continues to be available, accessible, and affordable,” Munya said.
Among some of the achievements geared towards ensuring food security, Munya said is the rollout of core digital innovations dubbed the e-voucher) and the World Bank supported National Value Chain Support system
“These programs have transformed the way government subsidies are distributed and have made a visible positive impact in the local communities. Plans are now underway to institutionalize the e-voucher subsidy programme and target all 47 counties,” he told the agriculture sector summit.
The Agriculture CS said the Ministry has invested heavily in data and digital technologies to increase food productivity, and provide access to services and markets in the agricultural sector as part of a wider plan to detect cases of food shortages in the country.
He said the government has recently introduced a new directorate of Research and Innovation to help develop a vibrant, coordinated, and innovative agricultural research system.
The ongoing Strategic Food Reserve reforms, Munya said are going to address the needs of food insecure Kenyans through a Digital Food Balance Sheet platform that will ensure every Kenyan has food on the table.
He said the government is also carrying out major reforms in the agriculture sector in collaboration with the private sector. “We have developed the 5-year Agricultural Sector Institutional Capacity Strengthening Plan (ICSP) which provides a framework for addressing the challenges hindering the agriculture sector’s development and transformation, “the CS said.
Munya also lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for his keen interest in the youth agricultural agenda which saw the government re-activate and rebrand the 4K Clubs in schools and other institutions of learning.
He said the ministry has been working closely with all the 47 county governments through various consultative meetings that are geared towards addressing food security in the country as agreed in the last IGFA meeting.
“I am pleased to report that as resolved in the IGFA 3, the policy and regulatory reforms have all been undertaken in collaboration with counties and the public,” he noted
Munya told the agriculture summit that the reforms have been achieved through a five -step approach to policy development where the Sector Working Group on ‘Policy Legislation and Standard (PLS)’ co-chaired by members from thetwo levels of government.
“We have ensured that county and regional consultations remain the mainstays of the process for mutual acceptance and accountability. This cannot be done if the County and national Government are working at cross purposes. Thus, we must continue to forge productive collaboration mechanisms to ensure success for our sector,” he added.