Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich with the Budget briefcase at the National Treasury on his way to Parliament to present the 2019/2020 Budget on June 13, 2019
The Kenya government unveiled the 2019/2020 fiscal budget KES 3.2 trillion which outlined the government plan to implement its Big 4 Agenda on food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare. The increase in budget allocation in agriculture from KES 45 billion in 2018/2019 financial year to 52 billion or 2.9 % of this year total budget underrates the contribution (26% direct and 27% indirect) of the sector to Kenya economy. The allocated budget also contravenes the Malabo declaration in which African Heads of State where Kenya is ratified agreed to commit at least 10% of the total budget to Agriculture in order to achieve 6% growth of the agricultural economy.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), economic growth is likely to rise to 6.2% and one of the key drivers of growth includes strong performance in the agricultural sector. Inadequate policy implementation, climate change, agriculture research funding among others remain a challenge and continues to hinder performance of the sector. The African Union Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024), adopted in 2015, encourages countries to allocate at least 1 per cent towards research and development. On the contrary the budget for agricultural research was reduced by KES 950 million yet new technologies, inputs, and innovations which help to increase agricultural productivity are developed through agricultural research. Agriculture being a devolved function will also necessitate a clear collaborative framework between the two levels of government to realize set targets and ensure the benefits reach the small holder farmers who produce at least 70% of the country’s food. The Potato Council and other stakeholders in the potato sub-sector remain committed in supporting the government Big 4 Agenda where the potato is identified as a priority crop to contribute to food security and nutrition and will continue engaging in policy dialogue forums such as National Potato Conference, KEPSA and AIN to lobby the National government to increase its budget allocation to agriculture.