According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Kenya, agriculture remains vital to Kenya’s economy, accounting for 26% of GDP and another 27% of GDP indirectly through links with other industries. Moreover, 40% of the population works in the industry, while more than 70% of Kenyans live in rural areas. Kenya’s agriculture is vast and complicated, encompassing public, parastatal, non-governmental, and commercial sectors. Agriculture continues to be an essential part of the rural economy. The sector which was one of the first to fully devolve service provision to county governments remains an integral part of the rural economy. Agriculture also emphasizes the importance of the role of county governments in maintaining food security.
Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), in partnership with the County government of Machakos and Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme II (ASDSP II) held the first-ever County Executive Committee members, C.Os and County Attorney sensitization workshop to draft agriculture sector policies, regulations and strategies. The event took place at Nairobi’s Boma hotel to review and set new policies. KCIC Ag. CEO, Ruth Ndegwa, Machakos County Ag. CEC for Agriculture Dr. Grace Munguti, ASDSP II coordinator Regina Kavuthu amongst other dignitaries graced the event.
For the agriculture sector to remain better and much more effective, certain policies at the national and county levels need to be reviewed to align them with county priorities and put in place a number of policies and strategies for a better Agribusiness sector within the counties. KCIC Ag.CEO Ruth Ndegwa, stated the importance of having the policies reviewed. “We have partnered with ASDSP II to support the county review sector policies, strategies, and regulations at the county and national levels and make them relevant to the county circumstances to improve the enabling environment for agribusiness actors in various value chains,” she said.
During the event, Vincent Ogaya, KCIC AgriBiz advisor, policy and advocacy officer, highlighted the need to have certain policies reviewed to better agriculture in the county. “We are sensitizing the CECs, and their chief officers on the draft documents, and we hope that the county cabinet will approve the documents so that they can move to the assembly and hopefully become law.” he said. KCIC has been supporting youth and women in agriculture in the county. KCIC currently has a functional business hub in the county where youth and women sell and share innovative ideas in agribusiness, pushing them to new levels.
According to Regina Kavutha ASDP II coordinator, there is need to transform agriculture and change from subsistence to commercialization. “Policies that are existing are not favoring agriculture transformation. Therefore, there is a need to make relevant and right policies to transform agriculture and we hope the cabinet will approve the policies we have made today,” she said.
Five policies, two strategies and seven regulations were made during the event and submitted to the Machakos county cabinet for approval. Machakos county has been promoting climate-smart technologies and working hand in hand with KCIC to propel climate change action. Dr. Grace Munguti, Ag Agriculture CEC Machakos county, underscored the need to have legal frameworks that guide the agriculture sector. “From here we have come up with a food security policy that will deal with how to manage, enforce and regulate issues concerning food security,” she said.
Agriculture policies are a vital factor in attaining a sustainable future. Proper policies must be put in place to ensure youth and women issues are included in agricultural values chains. KCIC remains focused on influencing policy to place women and youth in a platform where their voices can be hard, ideas taken into account and be able to influence issues from the highest level within the counties.