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Agriculture Ministry, Governors form joint committee to address food security

The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development is working closely with the Council of Governors to ensure that there is food security in the country.

Speaking Monday during a press briefing, Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said that his ministry is working to see that the prices of maize are reduced by around Sh1400 adding that the prevailing prices for a 90 Kg bag of maize is between Sh5400-5800 which is basically out of reach of many Kenyans.

Mr Linturi spoke after holding a consultative meeting between the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and Council of Governors Agricultural Committee at Kilimo House.

The CS asked Kenyans to be patient assuring that in a year’s time things shall be different in the country’s food balance sheet and  called upon farmers not to sell all their produce adding that they should only sell their food when in need.

“I want to assure the country that the Government is working day and night to ensure that we have enough, right food and of nutritional contents for our people. We are willing to work together to see that no toxic relationship between my Ministry and Council of Governors,” said Linturi.

The meeting was attended by the vice chairperson Agriculture and Livestock Committee of the Council of Governors Mutahi Kahiga, Governors from Tharaka Nithi, Nyandarua, Baringo Counties and State Department for Livestock Development Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai.

Linturi said the meeting agreed that there is a need for continuous engagements and consultations between the Ministry of Agriculture and County governments to transform the agriculture sector and move the country forward towards food and nutrition security.

During the meeting, it was recognised that there is also a need for the two levels of government to strengthen extension and farmer advisories services to support the farmers improve production.

Linturi said they resolved that a technical team comprising seven members shall be formed to be co-chaired by PS Harry Kimtai and CEO CoG, Mary Mwiti to spearhead the process of reviewing all the policy and legal issues in the Agricultural Sector and report back within four weeks.

Also, the CS stated that they agreed that his ministry and the CoG shall strengthen the joint Agricultural Sector Consultation Mechanism and ensure continuous engagement between the Ministry and the County governments on issues concerning the agricultural sector, a review of the current framework to ensure it is responsive to the current needs.

Another resolution, Linturi said was that both parties shall liaise with the National Assembly to pass the County Governments Additional Funds Bill, 2022 to support agricultural development in the counties.

In their agreement, the Ministry committed to review National Value Chain development Project (NACDP) to ensure the inclusion of the seven counties that were left out to ensure the ring fencing of the gains made under National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) and the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP).

Speaking during the press briefing, Baringo Governor representing CoG, Benjamin Cheboi expressed his joy that the two levels of the government could reason together and discuss the way forward to enhance food security in the Country.

“We want to minimise importation of food and maximise productivity in the country,” said Cheboi adding that the fastest way to grow the country’s economy is to invest in Agriculture.

The subsidised input programme is really the most important thing that the government is doing, by subsidising fertiliser, seeds and those things required for production of food means more food will be produced.

He said the construction of dams as envisioned by the government shall facilitate the use of non-rain fed agriculture meaning food shall be produce on a continuous basis.

By Catherine Muindi

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