The Government has unveiled a Sh 3.6 trillion budget for 2021/ 2022 financial year with The National Treasury projected a 6.3 percent growth even as the debt burden weighed on the better part of expected revenue base.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani, while tabling the budget estimates in parliament acknowledged negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the economy, saying the impact of the outbreak was felt since 2020 when the first case was reported.
He informed the House that the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down economic growth by at least 0.6 percent in 2020, pushing the 5.4 percent the Country realized in 2019.
He said the Sh 60 billion allocated to agriculture sector would go a long way in cushioning Kenyans from pangs of hunger.
On matters Food Security, the CS said that Government’s efforts to make food cheap and affordable to all Kenyans are bearing fruits with various initiatives aimed at supporting farming in areas of crop production, livestock rearing and fish farming.
“More farmers are now accessing subsidized inputs at a lower cost of production and boost earnings”, he said.
In the Financial Year 2021/22 budget, Yatani said the government had increased allocation in the sector towards the realization of 100 percent food and nutrition security.
Out of this, the CS noted, Sh 7 billion will go towards the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusivity Project; Sh 2.7 billion for the Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme and Sh 1.8 billion has been proposed for the Emergency Locusts Response;
Another Sh 1.5 billion will go towards the National Value Chain Support Programme; Ksh 1.5 billion for the Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme II (ASDSP), Sh 1.5 billion for the Small Scale Irrigation and Value Addition Project and Sh 620 million for Food Security and Crop Diversification Project.
On Livestock production improvement, CS Yatani has proposed Sh 3.0 billion for Free Disease Holding Ground in Lamu and also proposed Sh 488.1 million for the Regional Pastoral Livelihood Resilience Project;
Kenya Livestock Commercialization Program will receive Sh 455.0 million, the Livestock Value Chain Support Project Sh 163 million while the Livestock Production under “Big Four” initiative, Sh 156.2 million.
Yatani noted that in order to enhance animal diseases control, the government has set aside Sh 180. million for Sustainable Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Free Areas in Kenya, Sh 131.4 million for the Disease-Free Zones Program and Sh 60 million for modernization of the Foot and Mouth Disease Laboratory and related activities.
“The realization of the food and nutrition security also relies heavily on the sustainable utilization of the blue economy resources and in order to promote this, I have proposed an allocation of Sh 3.2 billion for the Aquaculture Business Development Project and Sh 3.4 billion for Kenya Marine Fisheries & Socio-Economic Development Project,” Yatani noted.
For Exploitation of Living Resources under the Blue Economy, the CS said that Sh 2.1 billion has been set aside while the construction of Fish processing plant in lamu will get Sh 1 billion
The Coastal Fisheries Infrastructure Development will receive Sh 290 million while rehabilitation of Fish Landing Sites in Lake Victoria will get Sh 326.6 million
Aquaculture Technology Development and Innovation Transfers will get Sh 150. Million and Development of Blue Economy Initiatives Sh 195.3 million
“In order to increase agricultural productivity and enhance resilience to climate change risks in targeted smallholder farming and pastoral communities in Kenya, I have set aside Sh 8.9 billion for the Climate Smart Agricultural Productivity Project and Sh 1.1 billion to enhance drought resilience and sustainable livelihood.
Ending Drought Emergencies in Kenya will use Sh 178.0 million, CS Yatani said and also proposed an allocation of Sh 529.5 million for the Livestock and Crop Insurance Scheme to reduce the vulnerabilities of Kenyan farmers to diseases and natural disasters.
Other proposed allocations in related subsectors of agriculture include Sh 100 million for revitalization of cotton industry, cooperative cotton ginneries will be modernized to the tune of Sh59.2 million while Sh50 million will be expended for the Cotton Development as subsidy and extension support.
The embryo Transfer Project and for construction and refurbishment of the Leather Science Institute will receive Sh 200 million and Sh65 million respectively while Sh 150 million will be set aside for establishment of Liquid Nitrogen Plant.
Yatani promised that the government will make more investments towards the revival and enhancement of output of major cash crop such as coffee industry which will receive Sh 210.4 million.
This year’s Budget zeroed in on priority programmes under the “Big Four” Agenda which is a critical path to supporting sustainable economic recovery.
Apart from Agriculture which is under Food and Nutrition Security Pillar, Sh 47.7 billion was allocated for Universal Health Coverage, Sh 20.5 billion for Manufacturing and Sh 13.9 billion for Affordable Housing.
By Wangari Ndirangu