Thursday, 04 April 2024 04:15

COUNTIES URGED TO PRIORITIZE IRRIGATION AND POLICY ALIGNMENT TO BOOST AGRICULTURAL RESILIENCE

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The Council of Governors (CoG) Agriculture, Livestock, and Cooperatives Committee from 12th to 15th March, 2024, held a quarterly meeting for the County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) in charge of Agriculture at Voi Safari Lodge, Taita Taveta County.
The meeting aimed at deliberating on ways to foster resilient food systems, ensure food safety, share best policy and legal practices, and provide updates on the advancements in the segregated roles within agriculture, livestock, and fisheries sectors.
In attendance were H.E. Rt. Hon. Ken Lusaka, Chairperson of the Agricultural, Livestock, and Cooperatives Committee, the Committee’s Vice-Chairperson, H.E. Mutahi Kahiga, host Governor, H.E. Andrew Mwadime, AGRA and Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust (MESPT) among other stakeholders.
Making his opening remarks H.E. Ken Lusaka urged the CECMs to prioritize the establishment of the County Irrigation Development Units (CIDUs) to enhance agricultural productivity through sustainable irrigation and development and enactment of agricultural policies and laws to entrench devolved functions and strengthen county governance. He further encouraged CECMs to collaborate with development partners and the private sector in creating innovative financing models for direct investment in agriculture.
“You have a significant role in steering the policy and legislative agenda for the country, given the agriculture sector's substantial contribution to the GDP. We need to work together to ensure that our policies and legislation align with our goals of transforming the agriculture sector. As we collaborate with the national government in setting national policy directions and priorities, we must ensure these align with our respective county goals and objectives,” added the chair.
Addressing press after the meeting, the Committee’s Vice-Chairperson, H.E. Mutahi Kahiga asked the State Department of Crops to reimburse County Governments the ksh. 50 million deducted from funds allocated to counties under the NAVCDP program and the same be factored into the FY 2024/2025 budget.
“As County Governments, we must focus on mobilizing resources to finance development projects and programs in the agricultural sector at the county level. Over the years, the equitable share of revenue has stagnated against the increased demand for agriculture to sustain our food security. With a wealth of development partners and private investors eager to support our counties in building sustainable food systems, I urge you, CECMs, to actively promote and facilitate direct investment by these partners in your counties. Let's foster collaboration and create a coordinated framework for maximizing synergies and achieving shared goals,” added Governor kahiga.
H.E. Andrew Mwadime on his part called upon the CECMs to embrace irrigation considering the realities of climate change and other climatic shocks adding that sustainable irrigation practices are becoming increasingly vital for our agricultural sustainability. With support from AGRA and partners, we will incorporate regenerative agriculture in county policies, fostering an inclusive agricultural transformation to tackle hunger, enhance nutrition, address climate change and promote collaborative learning.
“I urge all CECMs, with guidance from the CoG and the State Department of Irrigation, to prioritize the establishment and effective functioning of the CIDU units within our respective counties to enhance water management and maximize agricultural productivity,” added the Taita Taveta Governor.
The CECMs pledged to closely collaborate with AGRA and MESPT to enhance the regenerative agriculture project and strengthen food systems and safety across all 47 County Governments respectively. Additionally, it was agreed that the CoG will offer technical assistance to County Governments for policy and legislative development and implementation, as well as assist in creation of an inventory of policies and laws for sharing best practices among counties.

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