Inset: Key participants in the Kenya dialogue 2021
Potato is increasingly becoming important in Kenya and the region. Being the second most important food and cash crop after maize, the crop greatly contributes to Kenya economy. As the industry grows and transforms from a relatively semi-commercial subsector into a more commercialized industry, more ware and seed potato farmers are getting interested and joining the industry. This therefore calls for concerted efforts to ensure our potatoes are competitive regional markets.
A meeting to discuss Kenya’s agricultural trade competitiveness took place on 17th November 2021 and NCPK was among the members who attended the meeting. The aim of the dialogue was to reflect and prioritize critical agricultural trade competitiveness issues affecting the country. Keynote address from the PS was about regional trade performance in regards to the growth in agricultural export and potential of expansion despite the low and declining productivity across key sectors, weak mutual recognition of the certification processes and protocols, constraints in infrastructure among others. In the potato subsector faces various trade challenges such as non-structured disorganized markets, high transport costs and low value addition. The dialogue also assisted in reflecting on the private sector perspective on trade competitiveness.
Initiatives were identified that address private sector challenges such as ASTGS, ASDSP, National Export policy and National Trade Policy. These private sector challenges include governance issues at border points and technical barriers at regional level among others. The aim of the dialogue was to focus on strategies in addressing declining productivity, value coordination and investment for competitiveness in the region and in international agricultural trade.
National Treasury and Ministry of Agriculture should increase the allocation of agriculture budget to 10% in line with the Malabo Declaration, 5% of the budget should go to the real investment and support initiative instead of recurrent expenditure and farm input disbursement should be allocated and restructured in line with the farming calendar. This should help address the issue of limited budget to support investment. In attendance was NPCK, ASNET, Ministry of Agriculture, Research and academic among other stakeholders.