NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 8 – Kenya’s investment in agriculture has hit 6 percent of the national budget from 2 percent in 2003.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett says the country is committed to achieving the 10 percent investment of national budget to agriculture as agreed at the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in 2003.
Currently only eight African countries have committed to the declaration.
“We are not there yet, and we should not blow our trumpet, our part ourselves in the back, there is a lot to be done,” Bett told Capital FM Business on the sidelines of the AGRF conference in Nairobi.
He says Kenya is also looking at tapping into tapping into the opportunities opened during the Africa Green Revolution Forum.
Commitments worth Sh3 trillion were pledged in the continent for Africa’s agriculture development.
“We are ready to write proposals and sell all our proposals so as we get the money we require transforming our country’s agriculture,” Bett said.
In the 2016/2017 budget, the agriculture sector got a huge share.
Treasury Cabinet secretary allocated Sh20.8 billion shillings for irrigation projects around the country including the Galana-Kulalu Irrigation Project, with the hope of improving and uplifting such irrigation programs and schemes as Mwea Irrigation Project as well as National Expanded Irrigation Program.
Sh4.9 billion was also allocated to the subsidised fertiliser as well as seeds while Sh1.6 billion were allocated for Strategic Food Reserves.
Sh8.4 billion was allocated for the acquisition of the Offshore Patrol Vessel for the fisheries sub sector; the modernization of the ailing Kenya Meat Commission, the revival of the pyrethrum sector, livestock and crop insurance scheme, livestock value chain support and the mechanisation of the agriculture in general.
Sh1 billion was set aside for Crop Diversification Program in the Meru region for the Miraa farmers and Sh2.4 billion for Coffee Debt Waiver.
According to a new report released by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), countries that made the biggest investments in agriculture were rewarded with sizeable jumps in both farm productivity and overall economic performance.
The AGRA report notes that even if they didn’t hit the 10 percent targets, early adopters of the Maputo Declaration goals have seen productivity on existing farmlands rise by 5.9 to 6.7 percent per year.
This boost in turn helped spur a 4.3 percent average annual increase in overall GDP.
“The last ten years have made a strong case for agriculture as the surest path to producing sustainable economic growth that is felt in all sectors of society-and particularly among poor Africans,” said AGRA President Agnes Kalibata told Capital FM Business.
Kailbara said that many governments face significant budget constraints and far too many farming families continue to lack basic inputs, like improved seeds or fertilizers. But the evidence is clear.
“When we invest in our farmers and in the all the things they need to succeed, good things happen across the economy,” she added.