Once in a while, i do snoop around my friends Facebook walls to keep up with the ongoing trends and news and i couldn’t help notice this post that caught my attention. It through Sheila Komen’s wall that i realized AU had designated 2014 to be the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.This is with the aim of addressing the looming problems that African agriculture faces. Going through the post and the subsequent comments stirred some thinking in me and i thought it wise to share since the points raised address the problems facing agriculture in Kenya and Africa in general. Below find an excerpt from Sheila’s Facebook post and the subsequent comments friends posted on her wall.
Sheila’s Facebook Post
“2014 – The Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa
Despite some strides having been made over the past decade to enhance agricultural development across Africa, there is no escaping the reality that the continent continues to face serious challenges of hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty. This prompted the African Union (AU), Assembly of African Heads of State and Governments to declare 2014 the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa. It is hoped that this will encourage countries to increase food security, reduce poverty, promote economic growth and create wealth through agricultural upliftment.
This declaration is an attempt to secure a re-commitment from African governments towards agriculture and to implementing policies and strategies highlighted following the implementation of the AU’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), developed and adopted in Mozambique by African heads of State and governments in 2003. Herein countries committed to allocate at least 10% of annual budgetary allocations to the agricultural sector and to ensure its growth by at least 6% annually. To date, sadly only nine African countries have exceeded these targets.
Kenya voluntarily signed the CAADP Compact on July 24th 2010 however, by 2013 is yet to achieve the targeted at least 10% allocation to agriculture. In 2013/2014 budgets, Agriculture was allocated Sh53.5 billion accounting for less than 2 per cent of the budget, which is way short of the compact. Agriculture contributes about 25% of Kenya’s National GDP not to mention the millions of jobs and non-marketed agricultural services, especially in the rural areas, that are not included in the formal GDP calculations. It is thus very concerning and the envisaged economic growth will continue falling short of expectations until the sector is fully funded, 2% does and will not cut it.
Thus in 2014, the clarion call is for you to join those of us who work in agricultural development to call upon our governments to heed the Maputo Declaration and give Agriculture the priority it deserves.”
The Reactionary comments from the post……….
Arap Sila The current Kenyan govt is not supportive. By introducing 16% VAT on tractors, implements and spares, they’re out of line with this year’s African declaration.January 2 at 6:04am via mobile ·Edward Kisali Navwani The big problem in Africa is lack of support from Government. In Kitale for example subsidized fertilizer arrives a month after the planting season!January 2 at 6:27am via mobile ·Karumba Ndiritu sure theres little funding for agricultural projects and some other agri subsectors like aquaculture remains unexploited yet they would boost the economy and enhance food securityJanuary 2 at 7:07am via mobile ·Oscar Paul Mutere The implementation of this policy should begin from the Ward leval all the way to National Government as such Governors and their Executive Committes should be looped in and MCA lobbied to legislate laws that will form the framework for implementation from the village leval.That is how the Treasury will be forced to increase budgetary allocation for the Agricultral sector-January 2 at 8:12am via mobile ·Nessie Muthemba Government support towards agriculture will definitely the much needed jobs among the youth and unemployed majority….January 2 at 8:34am via mobile ·Lucy Muchoki Two different things,talk and do…too much talk in Africa and we forget to do!!!I am amazed when i realize how much we forget that we must feed ourselves first before we can become creative.The message is clear,lets get serious about Agriculture in Africa, feed ourselves first even before we think of our plan as the food basket for the world!!!!!!Happy Africa Agricultural and Food Security year!!!January 2 at 1:47pm ·John Tanui In foood secure countries farmers are the kings , farm input subsidy and assured markets are the key to unlocking Kenya potential in AgricultureJanuary 2 at 1:55pm via mobile ·Nicholas Kositany Well put Sheila! Kenyan farmer are hardworking but the Government is slow in implementing key policies in Agriculture. May be we should form a lobby group to push the Government to increase budget allocation for Agriculture. Happy 2014:January 2 at 3:58pm ·Sheila Komen Lucy Muchoki, it has taken your passion, African Ag to get you to comment on my wall? Hahaha. .. But you are right, we talk a lot more than we act!January 2 at 4:29pm via mobile ·Cecilia Mailu Scalling up to commercial… but government support is imperative to get us back to be competitive…. where we used to be and better!!!January 2 at 4:41pm via mobile ·Peter Kabangi Maybe Sheila could be the authority i have been waiting for,to expound on sadistic Elite agenda to enslave African farmers.Sheila i visited a place in Morogoro in TZ and the testimony of farmers there is nothing but a sadistic expose of what occultic foreign organizations are doing to kill human populations.For starters AGRA introduced some maize seeds that can only be planted for one season,has caused some strange diseases in TZ etc.What on earth is Koffi Anan,Bill Gates and the Rockerfeller foundation have in common?January 2 at 5:00pm via mobile ·Sophiah Tipis AFC used to really help farmers a lot but by now i think its another big white elephantJanuary 2 at 5:21pm via mobile ·Sophiah Tipis KFA too !! Another big white elephant !!!January 2 at 5:22pm via mobile ·Peter Kabangi CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES.MAN RUNS AWAY FROM GOD TO GOVERNMENT,ALL IS VANITYJanuary 2 at 6:08pm via mobile ·Weinbur Greimann The problem does not just start & stop with bigger budgetary allocation. No, it extends car beyond that both ways. Every year close to 2% of farmers lose they war to corruption, undercutting middle men, archaic and stringent government policies, back b…See MoreJanuary 2 at 9:45pm via mobile ·Sheila Komen Peter Kabangi, point of correction!!!! AGRA funds breeding programs within the National Research Institutions of many African Countries. The breeding for improved varieties of seed is in line with country policies and carried out by National breedersin Government labs and fields so in the case of Tanzania any seed that AGRA may have scaled up was bred and released by the Govt of Tanzania through its National Research Centre in the Min of Agric and released by The National Variety Release Committee though donor funded and perhaps by AGRA so, any issue with any seed commercialized in Tanzania or any other country should be taken up with the concerned Ministry. Incidentally, without funding from donors to many of the National Centres, there is hardly any funds allocated by governments for research. I’m 110% sure that the ugali you are going to have today’s seed was funded for by a donor…. l I hope this clarifies.