The government has launched the Agricultural Sector Institutional Capacity Strengthening Plan (ICSP) with an aim of achieving increased agricultural productivity and improved livelihoods within the broader agricultural transformation agenda.
The strategy is structured on nine flagship areas critical in addressing systemic bottlenecks constraining Kenya’s ability to achieve food and nutrition security.
Speaking today during the launch, Principal Secretary, Crops Development and Agricultural Research Francis Owino, said ICSP aims at addressing all the capacity challenges hindering Agriculture Sector development and transformation.
The PS said the five-year Plan aims at addressing individual, institutional, and systematic challenges that mitigate the envisaged transformation, and enhancement of coordination of all investments in the ecosystem.
In his speech read by Secretary Administration State Department of Fisheries Kassim Farah, Owino cited that for the implementation of the plan, County governments are very key considering that agriculture is a devolved function.
“I am pleased to inform you that after the validation in October 2021 and based on the resulting stakeholder recommendations, the task team has developed a one-year implementation work plan that is focused on the immediate term activities that would be required to jumpstart the implementation of the ICSP,” said Owno.
At individual level, PS said inadequate knowledge, skills and competencies among technical staff and extension workers were identified thus training shall be important to them.
“At the institutional level, lack of harmonized curricula and qualification framework for agricultural vocational training, low participation of youth in agriculture, weak governance and leadership structures, ineffective internal and stakeholder relations, and inadequate program and project implementation mechanisms are some of the key impediments,” he added.
To foster a greater understanding of the challenges faced by the agricultural sector in Kenya, Owino said several analytical studies have been undertaken, which include the USAID supported Institutional Architecture Assessment (IAA)-2017 and a recent study by AGRA on Institutional Capacity Assessment-2019 (ICA) and Ministerial Functional Analysis 2020 by USAID-KCDMS.
The ICSP will serve as a key guiding framework for all partners on capacity strengthening interventions in Kenya. The ICSP provides a five-year framework for capacity development in the sector. The ICSP has sought to address all the capacity challenges hindering agricultural sector development and transformation.
The PS said that the 10- year Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) has been structured with the vision of creating a vibrant, commercial, modern, and equitable agriculture sector that sustainably supports Kenya’s development and 100 percent food security aspirations.
This, Owino added, is based on the belief that food security requires a vibrant, commercial, and modern agricultural sector that supports Kenya’s economic development sustainably.
To achieve the goals and aspirations as spelled out in the ASTGS, its implementation will need the right agricultural sector institutional architecture, and specific capacities at both the national and county levels, including in government, private sector and Non-State Actors; and better coordination between them.
By Catherine Muindi