Foreword by the Cabinet Secretary; Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development
Agricultural development has been established as the most powerful tool to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050. Growth in the agriculture sector is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the poorest compared to other sectors. The Kenyan economy depends on agriculture, with over 25% of the GDP coming directly from the sector.
Agriculture offers the quickest payback period for investments. This is because, in many cases, no new capital investment is required. Increasing production only requires addressing the cost, quality, and access to inputs (animal feeds, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.), providing farmers with the working capital to buy an adequate supply of the inputs, and ensuring they have access to viable markets.
The sector has, however, not lived up to its full potential because of various challenges that have persisted through the various administrations since independence. Consequently, we continue experiencing the adverse effects of systemic shortcomings in the food and nutrition security of the Kenyan population. The vast majority of the farmers are smallholders, mostly in rural areas, who have challenges with resources and infrastructure to enhance their productivity beyond their subsistence needs.
Sustained scientific research, innovation, and technologies in the agricultural sector are crucial to food and nutrition security. For our country, agricultural and related research should have pride of place in the national agenda. The Government will foster a policy framework and environment that will ensure stability, research, and sustainability of the agri- food systems. Government decisions that influence the level and applicability of input and output prices, public investments affecting agricultural production, costs, revenues, and allocation of resources need to be streamlined to respond to the needs of the farmers.
The Kenya Kwanza Government believes that we are on the right strategic path to increase agricultural production. To ensure self-sufficiency in food production, it will make available affordable fertilizers, quality seeds, and farm equipment and ensure access to loans by investing at least KSh250bn ($2bn) in the agricultural sector over the next five years. We will work to enhance agriculture-led economic growth, improve nutrition outcomes, strengthen county government capacity, increase resilience, and build sustainable market systems through private sector engagement.
The Kenya Kwanza Government plans to make agriculture a low-cost venture to boost food production hence reducing food prices. The national and county governments will partner with other stakeholders, including farmer organizations, to facilitate the registration and training of farmers and equip them with valuable technologies to enhance food production. This is where the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) needs to be in the lead. The Government will also work with counties to establish county food reserves to tame post- harvest losses as well as encourage trade between counties.
The Kenya Kwanza Government is making efforts to help farmers mitigate and adapt to climate change. This includes training on climate-smart farming methods that can benefit soils and planting 5 billion trees annually for the next five years. Plans are underway to use agriculture to respond to the adverse effects of the climate change crisis in Kenya. In order to facilitate this, resources will be deployed to enhance farming practices through customized extension services and the recruitment of key personnel.