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
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.”