Pillars that can strengthen Kenyan agriculture
- The 2021 Economic Survey showed that the economy contracted by 0.3% in 2020, with agriculture contributing 23% to GDP.
- This makes agriculture the backbone of the country, requiring special attention as its performance is important to the economy.
- The Jubilee government’s Big 4 agenda item on food and nutrition security was well-intentioned and well-thought-out and has had some pretty remarkable results in boosting food production.
The agricultural sector accounts for the largest share of the primary sector in Kenya’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It supports around 75 percent of the country’s workforce and accounts for over a fifth of the GDP. The majority of other primary sectors are interdependent and linked to agriculture as a source of their raw materials.
In addition, food inflation is one of the main drivers of headline inflation.
The 2021 Economic Survey showed that the economy contracted by 0.3% in 2020, with agriculture contributing 23% to GDP. Ideally, most emerging and developing economies, including Kenya, are predominantly agriculture-based.
This makes agriculture the backbone of the country, requiring special attention as its performance is important to the economy.
There are over 600,000 people in Kenya who practice small-scale agriculture and account for around 70 percent of total agricultural production.
Budget options for 2022/2023 and the medium-term report prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) estimate that Kenya’s real GDP is expected to increase by 4.5% in 2022 and 5.1% in 2023, an indication a modest recovery attributed to a boost in private consumption.
The report further states that 32.9% of the country’s merchandise exports came from agriculture over the past five years.
The Jubilee government’s Big 4 agenda item on food and nutrition security was well-intentioned and well-thought-out and has had some pretty remarkable results in boosting food production.
However, the Hunger Monster is a big threat. This is due to adverse weather conditions such as extreme drought and annual flooding in some regions, especially arid and semi-arid regions. This forced President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare drought a national disaster in parts of the country.
The poor weather outlook could worsen the food outlook situation in 2022. In addition, it could weigh on the quantity and quality of the production outlook for agricultural exports.
As we prepare for the year of general elections, there may be household food stocks, which should be of concern to all stakeholders concerned with the state of food security in the country.
Post harvest losses
Limited access to high-quality certified seeds and fertilizers for smallholder farmers, approximate 25 percent post-harvest losses, poor agricultural mechanization and poor weather prospects have steadily decreased the productivity of small and large farmers in the area. the country.
For higher economic growth, there is an urgent need for key practical interventions and strategies in the dominant agricultural sector.
To borrow a leaf, the agile and progressive case study of the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Program, which tripled maize production and ensured food security in Malawi, in the first two years of its launch in 2005/6 .
The program provided clear policy direction that significantly boosted agricultural productivity, agriculture and national GDP reportedly growing by more than seven percent per year in real terms during the period 2004-2010.
With the promulgation of the Constitution of 2010, agriculture is a decentralized function. It is necessary to ensure that the funds follow the functions to reorient the bullish sector.
Faster monitoring and implementation of the following measures could go a long way in supporting the sector.
First, the provision of adequate funds in the form of conditional grants through the credit guarantee system to improve access to modern agricultural extension services to educate farmers.
Second, improving farmers’ access to subsidized inputs.
Third, accelerate drought mitigation measures.
Fourth, strong and strengthened public-private partnerships and investments in small-scale irrigation and water storage can unlock untapped productivity potential.
Fifth, concerted efforts should be made to combat cartels and price-manipulating brokers.
These measures will enable Kenya to meet its goal of increasing agricultural productivity by 0.5% by 2023/2024.
Basweti Ombane is an economist