World Bank’s Sh100Bn agriculture plan to end imports

The Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya has embarked on an ambitious journey to end the persistent cycles of food imports that have plagued the country for years.

With a promise to ensure food self-sufficiency, the Ministry has secured funding of Kes100 billion from the World Bank to revolutionize agricultural practices across counties, stepping up food production, and transforming agriculture in Kenya.

Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary, Mithika Linturi, has reassured Kenyans of a year of plenty, citing the multi-agricultural development projects funded by the World Bank.

He highlighted the key projects being implemented in 46 counties, including the National Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP), the Emergency Locust Response Program, Kenya (ERP), the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP), the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP), and the Food System Resilience Project (FSRP).

One of the key achievements attributed to these projects is the significant increase in maize production to 61 million bags in 2023, a stark contrast to the 31 million bags produced in the previous four years.

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More productive and resilient agriculture sector

Linturi credited this bumper harvest to the reduced costs of farm inputs and the registration of nearly six million farmers nationwide.

The collaborative efforts between the World Bank and the National and County Governments have been pivotal in making the agricultural sector more productive and resilient.

Linturi lauded the World Bank’s support in reducing poverty, increasing incomes, improving food security, and mitigating the effects of weather-related challenges.

Furthermore, the government’s subsidies, such as the subsidized fertilizer program, have played a crucial role in enhancing food production.

Linturi noted that the community-centered approach to funding projects prioritizes sustainability by empowering beneficiaries, directly impacting 15 million farmers.

He also highlighted the government’s commitment to placing agriculture at the center of the Kenya Kwanza Government’s Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) to achieve 100 percent food and nutrition security for all Kenyans.

“Through the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) 2019-2029, my Ministry aims to contribute to the national development agenda by increasing incomes of small-scale farmers and pastoralists; agricultural output and value-added products; household food resilience; and embracing the data and digitization agenda,” Linturi added.

The forum, which brought together World Bank officials, national and county leaders, including the Chairperson of the Council of Governors Committee on Agriculture, Kenneth Lusaka, and his deputy, Kahiga Mutahi, aimed at reviewing the progress of agricultural projects.

Lusaka commended the Ministry for integrating devolved functions and emphasized the importance of joint initiatives in fertilizer distribution and farmer registration, which have led to bountiful harvests across the country.

Kahiga challenged County Governments to increase their annual budgets for agriculture development to reduce reliance on donor funds.

He also called for sustainable growth in the agricultural sector to achieve long-term food security and wealth creation.

The theme of the annual forum, “Nurturing Sustainable Agricultural Growth for Food Security and Wealth Creation,” resonates with Kenya’s vision for a prosperous and food-secure nation.

As the forum concludes today, it marks a step towards realizing Kenya’s agricultural transformation agenda, setting a solid foundation for a sustainable future.

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