Gov’t allocates Kshs 1.97 billion for improving agriculture

Written By: Claire Wanja

Under the ongoing reforms in the coffee and tea sectors, I will be proposing further measures to enhance competitiveness of these sub-sectors. Photo Courtesy

To spur the economic activities in the country, Cabinet Secretary National Treasury and Planning Ukur Yatani says the government has implemented a comprehensive Economic Stimulus Programme, targeting activities in infrastructure, education, health, business liquidity, agriculture and food security.

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Speaking while unveiling the 2021/2022 budget in Parliament on Thursday, the CS said the Government will continue with the implementation of the Economic Stimulus Programme in the FY 2021/22, which targets to cushion vulnerable citizens and businesses particularly those affected by the COVID-19.

He said the government has set aside Ksh 23. 1 billion in the FY 2021/22 budget for continuation of this Programme.

Out of this, Ksh 3.0 billion is earmarked for youth empowerment and employment creation under the Kazi Mtaani Programme, Ksh 2.6 billion will go towards enhancing liquidity to businesses; Ksh 6.4 billion for improving education outcomes; Ksh 6.9 billion  for  improving  environment,  water  and sanitation facilities; Ksh 1.97 billion for improving agriculture and food security as well as Ksh 1.2 billion for recruitment of health workers.

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” Mr. Speaker, I have also set aside Ksh 1.0 billion for Kenya Wildlife Services to employ Community Scouts.” He said

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The CS said that in addition to the various reforms in the agricultural sector, the government has focused on the livestock sector by reviving the Kenya Meat Commission and is looking to set up a meat processing plant in Lamu to provide ready market for livestock, increase income to farmers and enhance the meat value chain.

“Mr  Speaker, we also focused on increasing fish production by refurbishing Liwatoni Fishing complex and setting up a new fish processing plant in Lamu. This will promote exports and increase incomes for the local fishermen.” He added

He also noted that in order to improve access to land as a factor for development, the government has stepped up investment in the sector and rolled out ambitious national program of Land Titling and digitization of land records.

Speaking on the tea and coffee sub-sectors, the CS said;” Tea and coffee sub-sectors provide livelihoods to millions of Kenyans. Despite its contribution to foreign exchange earnings, the returns to farmers have been declining due to low productivity, high input costs, low levels of value addition and weak regulatory and institutional framework. Under the ongoing reforms in the coffee and tea sectors, I will be proposing further measures to enhance competitiveness of these sub-sectors.”

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The total expenditures in the FY 2021/22 budget are projected at Ksh 3.03 trillion equivalent to 24.5 percent of GDP from Ksh 2.89 trillion equivalent to 25.8 percent of GDP in the FY 2020/21 budget. Recurrent expenditures are expected to amount to Ksh 2.0 trillion or 16.2 percent of GDP.

“On the other hand, development expenditures including foreign financed projects, allocation to Contingencies Fund and conditional transfers to County Governments are projected at Ksh 669.6 billion. This funding is expected to accelerate completion of ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the country.” The CS noted.

Here is the -> BUDGET STATEMENT FOR THE FY 2021-22

On Wednesday, the total agriculture proposed allocation was met with criticism from the National Assembly Committee on Agriculture, saying the sum was not sufficient to revive a sector that is still struggling from the negative effects of Covid-19.

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The Budget and Appropriations Committee report said the agriculture sector is still grappling with the historical pending bills.

The State Department of Livestock has a pending bill of slightly over Kshs 4 billion that has seen it scale down on some key projects with some taking long to complete.

The report further stated that the state department for crop development implementation of the e-voucher system is taking long.

It further noted that nutrition sensitization programme and national food reserve have a funding gap of Kshs 128 million and Kshs 200 million respectively.

The crop department has also a fertilizer pending bill worth 8 billion shillings.

The Agriculture and Food Authority said there is need for more allocations in the agriculture sector to enforce rules and regulations that will bring sanity in the sector that has been blighted by middlemen and unscrupulous traders who fleece farmers.

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