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Government roots for more funding in Agriculture

The Government’s agricultural agenda commitment, has included transformation of 2 million farmers from food deficit, to surplus producers, through input finance and intensive agricultural extension support.

This is being done by raising productivity of key value food chains and other value chains such as maize from 8 to 15 bags an acre, dairy from 2.5kg to 7.5kg a cow a day and beef carcass weight from 110kg to 150kg.

Speaking, today, during a media launch on Financing Agriculture Sustainably Conference (FINAS 2024), that will be held in March 2024, Principal Secretary, State Department of Agriculture, Dr. Paul Rono, said that the government intends to further reduce dependence on basic food imports by 30 percent, domestic oil crops production from 5 per cent to 25 percent, rice from 18 per cent to 40 percent as well as revamping of underperforming and collapsed export crops and expanding emerging ones.

He noted that agriculture investment and funding is a conversation that is overdue and needs to take place in order to better position the country to transform agricultural sector and define how best to bring on board all relevant actors.

“Government is committed to the provision of adequate, affordable working capital to farmers, through well-managed farmer organizations, deployment of modern agricultural risk management instruments, that ensure farming is profitable and income is predictable,” he said.

The PS noted that the Conference could not come at a better time as Kenya, like many other countries in the region, is facing unprecedented times of disruption in Agri- food systems, resulting in loss of livelihoods and increased food insecurity.

“As we embark on implementing the Food Security Agenda, we have also been grappling with climate change impacts, such as the ongoing El-Nino rains and the resultant floods; the recent drought; and the global ramifications of the Ukraine and Russian conflict as well as  many enterprises  that are still yet to recover fully from the COVID shock, while some wound up for good,” the PS said.

He noted that the government has prioritized funding agriculture in the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), and that it is in the process of developing a 10-year agriculture master plan, aimed at enhancing investment to boost food production in the country.

The master plan 2024-2034 will help in implementing the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS 2019 -2029), which envisions a vibrant private sector that contributes up to 80 per cent of the National Agricultural Investment Plan.

“All programmes and initiatives developed to implement the ASTGS, are ending in June this year, prompting the Ministry in conjunction with other stakeholders, to develop new ones and more that are aligned to BETA,” said the PS.

(From Left; Academician Prof. Ratemo Michieka, Dr. Kawira Mutegi, Conference Director , Agriculture PS Dr. Paul Rono and COG CEO Mary Mwiti, during the launch of the FINAS 2024

Through engagements with relevant stakeholders’, government expects to chart tangible investment and funding action plans, that are alive to the current realities of the country and the 47 Counties”, he said.

Council of Governors (COG) CEO, Mary Mwiti, said counties should be at the fore-front in addressing challenges that impede farmers from accessing development funds.

“Counties are pivotal in coming-up with solutions, facilitating access to credit and establishing farmer-centric policies,” she said.

Mwiti hoped that the upcoming conference on financing agriculture, sustainably will centre discussions to financing County led Agricultural development programme, in mind that agriculture is devolved.

She noted that success stories emerging across various counties where innovative financing have flourished, is because of collaboration between the National and local governments, as well as financial institutions and farming communities.

Mwiti opined that focus on financing agriculture, should be in reducing risks through crop insurance, price stabilization, increasing credit accessibility by streamlining loan processes and promoting sustainable practices via investment in research and development

“The COG is dedicated to foster dialogue, shaping effective policies and sharing best practices in agriculture financing in order to transform Kenyan agriculture.

The two-day Financing Agriculture Sustainably Conference (FINAS 2024) that will be held on 27th and 28th of March, bringing together actors in the agriculture sector to engage on how to finance the sector through appropriate models. will be running through the theme; “positioning Kenya for Resilient Agricultural Enterprise”

Some of the key topic of the Conference is the Funding Instruments to Support Climate Adaptation and Mitigation in the Agricultural Sector and focus will be on the role global development finance, should play to foster agriculture to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as the funding instruments available towards this.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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