The National Treasury is proposing an allocation of about Ksh 38.98 billion to the Agriculture, Rural and Urban Development sector out of the estimated Ksh 3.07 trillion 2018/2019 budget.
The funds will go towards projects that drive the food security agenda in the country with a key focus on increasing the acreage under crop for maize, rice and potatoes, enhancing small holder production and value addition, as well as reducing the cost of food.
The 2018/2019 financial year budget largely prioritizes financing of projects under the Big Four Plan including food security.
National Treasury says it will ensure the prioritized programmes that guarantee food security and nutrition to all Kenyans by 2022 such as expansion of food production and supply, reduction of food prices to ensure affordability and support value addition in the food processing value chain are fully implemented.
The budget policy statement says that “expansion of food and agricultural production will require an increase in the fertilizer subsidy initiative to reduce the cost to farmers, and support to small-holder agricultural irrigation by constructing large-scale dams.
Experts however opine that the programs do not support sustainable ecological and social inclusive food systems in the country to effectively solve food insecurity.
They are calling on the government to invest heavily in research institutions to give them capacity to deal with pests such as the Fall Armyworm to prevent loss of crop.
An estimated Ksh 17.97 billion will go to numerous irrigation projects from across the country .
Of this, an estimated Ksh 900 million will go towards Bura Irrigation Scheme, Ksh 2.3 billion to Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Ksh 615 million to Galana–Kulalu Irrigation Scheme, Ksh 2.3 billion to National Expanded Irrigation Programme, Ksh 280 million to community based irrigation and Ksh 220 million to Small Holder Irrigation Programme.
Experts also called for increased budgetary allocation to the sector from the current 8 per cent to 10 percent.
The government is targeting to lower the cost of food as a percentage of income from the current 47 percent to 25 percent by 2022 and also eliminate multiple taxation across counties in the agricultural value chain.
It also wants to raise agricultural exports from 16 to 50 percent, increase agricultural SMEs to a million from current 200,000 and create 4.5 million jobs from the sector from the current 500,000.
There are plans to increase maize production from 40 million bags to 67 million bags, rice from 125,000 metric tonnes to 400,000 and potatoes from 1.6 million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes by 2022.