The National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Agriculture, has urged the government to increase budget allocation on the agricultural sector so as to help in developing it in the coming financial year.
They made the call, as they were analyzing and discussing budget estimates for the sector in the fiscal year 2021/2022.
While they commended the President for allowing an allocation of Sh1.5 billion to be given to the sector during the eruption of Covid-19, they blamed the National Treasury for not giving them the money.
Addressing the media at English Point in Mombasa, the Committee’s Chairman, Silus Tiren, has expressed concerns on the budgeting of the sector, saying they are being underfunded.
If the government had more resources, they argued, it would invest more on Agriculture to at least achieve the 10 per cent threshold recommended by the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security.
“We received an allocation of 3.5 per cent which is very small considering how complex the sector is,” he said.
The proposed budgetary estimation to be allocated to the agricultural sector accounts to Sh 62.6 billion of the next financial year.
The allocation has been channeled in three main sectors, including crop production which will claim Sh46 billion, fishery which has an estimate of Sh10 billion and livestock farming with Sh 6.6 billion.
Moiben Member of Parliament (MP), also called for continued focus on improving the quality of agricultural produce which he said can only be achieved if funded properly.
“We are being underfunded by Sh.26 billion. There has to be improved crop production by introducing new crops, we also plan on introducing fish ponds at schools so that students can learn about fishing,” he said.
Other key interventions under the proposed budget for next fiscal year include, growing traditional exports and growth of the service sector.
The MPs comments on the budget estimates will be submitted to the government and feed into the final preparation of the budget that is to be read in June 2021.
By Chari Suche