Agriculture was central to recovery in the Mwai Kibaki era

Former President Mwai Kibaki during a past public lecture at Taifa Hall, University of Nairobi. [Mbugua Kibera, Standard]

When the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) government led by Mwai Kibaki came to power in early 2003, its main objective was to improve the country’s economic performance.

To this end, it produced an Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) for wealth and job creation in April 2003, drawing heavily on the Narc election manifesto.

The strategy was a combination of ideas from the parties that formed the coalition. The ERS was launched by President Kibaki in March 2004.

Economically, the ERS took a strongly pro-private sector line, reflecting among other things Kibaki’s personal beliefs.

Along with other productive sectors, agriculture was described as the “heart” of the ERS and work began immediately on a sector strategy for agriculture to expand on the key commitments for agriculture made in the ERS. ‘ERS.

Nationwide development resumed, and this saw the revival of many near-collapsed state corporations and key economic institutions such as the Kenya Meat Commission and the Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) .

The Kibaki presidency has set itself the primary task of reviving and redressing the country after years of stagnation during the Moi years – a task that faced several challenges, including donor fatigue, the president’s poor health during his first term and political tensions culminating in the breakup of the Narc coalition and the post-election violence of 2007-2008.

There was also the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 and a tenuous relationship with his coalition partner, Raila Odinga, during his second term.

To maintain strong agricultural performance, the Kibaki administration created or maintained effective agricultural institutions that provided services to producers within particular commodity chains.

These included coffee cooperatives, KCC in the dairy industry, National Grain and Commodity Board for Maize and Wheat, Kenya Farmers Association for Input Supply, Kenya Meat Commission and Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA).

Numerous agricultural legislations, often superimposed and sometimes redundant, were harmonized during the Kibaki era in one or a few framework legislations.

The number of public agencies has been reduced through closure or privatization, while the mandates of others have been reduced and others have been placed in public-private partnerships to increase their efficiency.

The main objective was to refocus the state on the provision of key public goods, such as research and extension, road and irrigation infrastructure, creating greater space for the private sector to expand the services that ‘it provides producers – in particular the marketing of production, but also the supply of inputs and financial services.

In 2010, the ERS was replaced by the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy 2010-2020, which was to build on the success of the ERS and draw lessons from it.

According to government records, the agricultural sector accounted for 65% of national exports and 70% of informal employment in rural areas of Kenya, and provided livelihoods for around 80% of the population.

In October 2012, President Kibaki launched the National Food and Nutrition Policies, National Agriculture Sector Extension and National Agribusiness Strategy.

The three key strategies aimed to improve agriculture, which contributes 25% of national income to a viable business, and to ensure Kenya’s self-sufficiency.

The strategies also looked at ways in which young people could be actively involved in reviving agriculture. Kibaki noted that, “To achieve a modern and globally competitive agricultural sector, the sector must be made attractive to young entrepreneurs.”

In early 2013, during the official unveiling of the ISO 9001:2008 certificate awarded to the Ministry of Agriculture, President Kibaki urged the ministry to systematically implement quality management systems at all levels to meet the challenges of Food Safety.

He said the ministry should use the certification to provide quality services to farmers. Among the targets set under the ISO certification were reducing post-harvest crop losses from 40% to 10% and increasing the number of water harvesting structures from 220 to 460 by the end of 2013.

Other ISO goals included improving customer access to quality agricultural inputs by 10% and increasing agricultural productivity and production by 5% per year to achieve food safety. food for all through improved extension services and adoption of modern technologies.

In March 2013, Kibaki ordered the Treasury to release 3 billion shillings to buy fertilizers and seeds from farmers.

Kibaki expressed concern that the fertilizer shortage had become an annual occurrence and ordered plans for a fertilizer factory to be expedited.

About Keneth T. Graves

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