What’s going on in our kitchen?

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy, a cliché but unfortunately true.  The statistics of this sector claims dependence of over 2/3 of the entire Kenya’s population yet it happens to be so under-invested. I do not understand why we neglect the main pillar of our mansion only to focus on the support structures as far as feeding our national development is concerned!

In Kenya, over 30% of the populations most of which are children under the age of five are struck by the enigma of undernourishment. Yes, this is a mystery, We have large tracts of land most of which lie idle, we got some reliable rainfall (we are better compared to some dry countries in the middle east I know of, Funny how we visit them for 1-2-3 on farming) and on top of it all, we got lots of jobless people especially the youth who can make Kenya turn around as far as food supply is concerned.

Looking at the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I see food on the first squad. Clearly, feasting our appetites is the key thing to get us going on our journey of sweet life before we even touch our neighbors with the sweet hands of a philanthropist. We cannot achieve self-actualization if we are whining on our empty stomachs. It is therefore very important to focus on how to feed the nation so that the labor force can strongly strive to push our economy up to the levels of our far away gone age mates of independence times.

Honorable Felix Kosgei- the agriculture cabinet secretary attended a convention on agricultural investment, together with other experts under the umbrella of Africa Union in early July this year to discuss how they can push agricultural investments and achieve the CAADP declarations. They jointly pledged to invest in agriculture as per the CAADP rule; to allocate 10% public finance investments on agriculture.  It’s been long since the CAADP was passed on to the members but no implementation was done since then in Kenya. Contrastingly, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Niger and Senegal have exceeded this target with most of these countries having made significant progress towards this goal. However as far as I can check through our investments in Agriculture, we are still doing less than 5%. In fact this year’s budget on agriculture reduced from Ksh 53.3 billion to Ksh 38.07 billion. If this trend goes on, how long do you think we will be singing the food insecurity tune?

I am happy honorable Henry Kosgei has unveiled the eagle eye to the CEO of the agricultural parastatals. By the end of this fiscal year, the Top chiefs of these parastatals should have maintained a sustainable debt-to-equity ratio. They are also required to build a strong stream of internal revenue as well as raising the participation of youth and women in procurement to 30% (Business daily, 7th Nov 2013). Their performance will be reviewed on quarterly basis and only those who meet the benchmarks will be retained. I hope this move will make the agricultural sector a bit productive. I cross my fingers and hope that after one year we will say “Sir Henry, we salute you.”

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