The Kenyan Government launched a critical phase of its ambitious agriculture development strategy as influential public and private sector partners joined senior officials from the African Union Commission (AUC) and major development partners to agree on a road map for making crop and livestock production a powerful engine for economic growth in the country.
The theme of the three-day meeting organized in partnership with the AUC and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency was to evaluate and refine the National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP), which is the core blueprint for revitalizing crop, livestock and fisheries production in the country. Kenyan agriculture employs 75 percent of the citizens but has yet to reach its potential to boost food security, nutrition and incomes especially for the local poor.
“The NAIP remains a central tool for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) implementation and translates the continental and country’s aspirations into an evidence based plan with clear targets, budgets and mutual accountability,” Rhoda Peace the AUC’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture said. “ It’s inspiring to see such a diverse group come together to determine exactly how Kenya is going generate the investments required to energize a sector that embodies the hope for a better future for all Kenyans”, she added.
Her Excellency Rhoda Peace said that the NAIP process was in line with the aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063; a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
The gathering was one of a series of meetings being held over the next year across Africa to revamp national agriculture investment plans linked to the CAADP process.
The CAADP was endorsed by African Leaders in 2003 and then reaffirmed and expanded at the 2014 AU Heads of State and Government Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
CAADP is an African led and owned framework that commits African countries to increase public sector spending on agriculture to at least 10 percent of national budgets, among others, while embracing reforms that will attract more investments from the private sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Hon. Willy Bett was represented by the Principal Secretary Prof. Micheni Ntiba and led the assessment of the country’s agriculture investment plan. He was joined at the meeting by senior colleagues from other ministries that have a significant stake in spurring progress in Kenyan agriculture.
“It’s a major achievement to assemble such a broad group of investors and allies who all understand that there is an impressive array of agriculture opportunities in Kenya,” said Prof. Ntiba. “It sends a signal to our farmers and to all of the citizens of Kenya that the Government is moving aggressively to generate investments that will bring rapid progress in fields, pastures, fisheries and food markets across the country, he added”.
The CS particularly mentioned the importance of having a strategy that can drive greater investments from the private sector. “Government commitments are crucial, but creating a more prosperous, food-secure future for Kenya requires a more entrepreneurial approach across the sector in production, processing, inputs and marketing. That means attracting support for small and medium sized enterprises that can generate income and employment in rural communities, he said”
Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance (KAAA) through the Chief Executive Officer Lucy Muchoki represented the private sector, small holder farmers and Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in the agricultural sector.
Other participants included representatives from key development partners, donor governments, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, and the African Development Bank.
Also in attendance were County Government officials from across the country and representatives from agriculture businesses and civil society groups that work in Kenya, including the Nairobi-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Africa Lead, Grow Africa and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).