The government has launched three agriculture baselines surveys whose data and information will be used to enhance food security. The Household, Agribusiness and Policy Survey that was carried out in 47 counties will further assist in harmonisation of programmes to avoid duplication.
Speaking during the launch yesterday, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the surveys have made pertinent observations in the counties that require urgent attention by both levels of government and stakeholders. “This survey was timely and critical for this nation as it will be our basis for planning and setting priorities of intervention in the sector,” the CS said.
The survey was done between September and October 2013 under the Agricultural Sector Development Support programme ( ASDSP) a government project with support of the Swedish government.
Mr Bett further said the survey comes at a very critical moment with the situation of low productivity in the country, and thus is a step in the right direction for both the ministry and the counties since decisions will be made based on evidence from the ground.
He noted that the Baseline survey will also create a platform to see whether the sector is going forward, gauge the impact as well as give the national government an opportunity to look at the value chain in various counties. In the past, the CS said coordination between the two levels of government has been a challenge, but the situation has changed since there is a coordination structure and mechanism that is more efficient.
“The national government will now play a role in terms of research and policy making while Counties will work towards implementation of the programmes,” Mr Bett said, noting that this will establish a united front in sorting agriculture problems.
He said that some of the key findings that came out from the baseline report was the challenge of productivity. There is still a lot to do to increase productivity through increasing the communities ability to access inputs and services. “We need to up our productivity by building strategies along production, technology uptake and commercialisation so that farmers stop practicing farming as a habit but as a commercial venture,” he said.
Mr Bett said lack of data for small scale holders in Kenya has been a major challenge but noted that the Government is in the process of registering all small scale farmers in all counties to ensure proper planning and implementation of the subsidy programme.
Chairman of the Agriculture Committee Zacharia Obado said the survey will address a number of challenges, including cost of production. “If we pull together, issues of productivity will be enhanced as national government will come up with good polices, and counties will implement them,” he said.
The survey revealed that the country has a vibrant agribusiness sector that can further be improved with the right agro-trade policies and with both financial and technical support. On the issue of policy formulation and institutional frameworks, the survey recommends strengthening of various institutions by adopting performing enhanced systems to deliver services more efficiently and effectively to the people. (KNA)