LEADER

Uhuru right to tackle agriculture problems, let's see action

In Summary

• Agriculture contributes 22 percent of GDP, 56 percent of employment and 65 percent of exports in Kenya

• The African Union wants members to contribute 10 percent of their budgets to agriculture but Kenya only does 4 percent

Then Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri on March 8, 2019.
CS KIUNJURI Then Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri on March 8, 2019.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Yesterday President Uhuru Kenyatta removed his Agriculture minister Mwangi Kiunjuri while announcing a raft of measures to bolster farmers.

Kiunjuri, an outspoken supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, may have fallen afoul of political machinations but he was also being held responsible for the failures of the agriculture sector. 

Agriculture contributes 22 percent of GDP and 56 percent of employment. It provides 65 percent of exports. Yet real agricultural value-added has declined since 2006 due to bad weather, pests and poor extension services.

 

This threatens the economy and wellbeing of the 73 percent of Kenyans who live in rural areas.

Uhuru promised to speed up and improve crop payments in the tea and coffee sectors. He also gave KCC Sh500 million to mop up excess milk production.

These measures are commendable but agriculture needs much more than a few new regulations. The African Union wants member states to spend 10 percent of their budget on agriculture — Kenya spends just 4 percent.

Kenya needs to invest much more on extension services, feeder roads and agriculture finance if it wants to transform farmers' lives.

Quote of the day: "Those who do not love me do not deserve to live."

Muammar Gaddafi 
The army officer was proclaimed premier of Libya on January 15, 1970.