The Government has effected new changes at the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) ahead of the planned reorganization of the sector.
Anthony Muriithi who was the Acting Director General of the authority since October 2018 has been move to Rome, Italy to serve at the Kenyan Embassy.
Muriithi is an accomplished agricultural economist who has steered AFA through enactment of the various commodities specific regulations and has been promoted to the position of an Agriculture Attache .
He is expected to take his new assignment from April 1, 2021 where he will be the key contact consul to link the country with various multilateral donors -Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) among others.
Other responsibilities include coordinating bilateral relations between Kenya and Italy as well as other European countries that are coordinated from Rome base. AFA was formed on February 28, 2014 after the collapse of former crops regulatory organisations. The then Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei gazetted an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee management of the new body.
The outgoing director will be remembered for building a strong stakeholder’s engagement base, collaboration with development partners and improving staff welfare at AFA.
Muriithi has been coordinating directorates of Sugar, coffee, tea, pyrethrum and other Industrial Crops, Fibre Crops Directorate, Nuts and Oil Crops, Food Crops and commodities fund.
Together with agriculture cabinet secretary Peter Munya since early last year Muriithi has been coordinating Government sponsored reforms towards reorganizing AFA.
The reforms target to restore defunct agriculture sub sector regulatory bodies, for example, coffee, tea, sugar, sisal, cotton, horticulture and nuts and oils.
Before being appointed as the acting director general, Muriithi was the interim director in charge of the Tea Directorate and earlier was heading the Fibre Crops Directorate and the defunct Cotton Board of Kenya.
His departure comes a few months before the Government disbands AFA and reintroduce former food crop regulatory institutions manning.
To restore the regulatory bodies by August this year, the ministry is currently engaging the public on various legislative bills. Tea Bill 2020 was enacted into law last year and assented by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Sugar Bill is already in parliament.
Muriithi has been replaced at AFA by Kello Harsama, an experienced public administrator who has been secretary administrator in the crops department.
Harsama is not new to AFA as he once headed the Miraa and pyrethrum taskforce implementation committee.
By. Wangari Ndirangu