BY PETER KOMBE
Agriculture cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri wants counties to develop a mechanism of mitigating the effects of climate change within their jurisdictions.
Mr Kiunjuri, speaking during a one-day consultative meeting between his ministry and the Council of Governors (CoG) in Mombasa, said the government was read to address some of the challenges facing the agriculture sector.
“We must work together to address some of the critical challenges hindering agriculture production. Counties are key drivers of the food security agenda,” he said.
According to him there is need for county governments to identify the right agriculture policy programs in order to mitigate problems within the sector.
“Climate change is real. We need to support agriculture at the county level taking into consideration the challenges that exist,” he said.
The CoG’s agriculture committee chairperson Muthomi Njuki called for the immediate restructuring of the farmers’ input support program by the ministry.
“It is the considered view of the committee that all pending agriculture regulations be developed and fast tracked,” he said.
He argued that as per the recommendations of the committee the input subsidies’ funds should be devolved in line with the law and transferred to counties as conditional grants.
The Tharaka-Nithi governor said the counties should be allocated additional financing so that the Big Four Agenda on food security could be implemented.
One of the challenges facing agriculture production in counties, according to the CoG is the stalled agriculture regulations.
Due to this, the council wants the ministry to fast track the finalisation of the regulations to boost agricultural production in counties. It gave the government a 60-day window to effect this from April 8th, 2019.
The CoG chair and Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya noted that some of the stalled regulations requiring urgent redressing include sugar, tea, horticulture, food industry coffee and dairy.
“The damage caused by the unregulated is unequivocal. I urge the Ministry to take drastic measures to ensure the pending regulations are expeditiously finalized.”
At the same time, the chair admitted that the agriculture sector at the county level faces critical challenges that require immediate intervention.
He urged the ministry to transfer agriculture funds to the county level saying the sector is a fully devolved function.
The governor asked the national government to stop micro-managing agriculture and instead leave the counties to deal with the socio-economic transformation.