By TITUS TOO
They said under-funding in the Ministry of Agriculture has always led to perennial crisis every planting season due to shortage of inputs.
“The Government knows the planting cycle. It should allocate adequate funds to end embarrassing situations caused by fertiliser and seed shortages,” said Kipkorir Menjo, a director at the Kenya Farmers Association (KFA). He said the agriculture sector has been underfunded leading to late procurement of the inputs. The move, he said, has denied farmers to maximise production because of use of substandard inputs.
“Kenya is a signatory of the 2003 Maputo Declaration that requires 10 per cent of the national budget be allocated to agriculture. I hope the finance Minister will honour the declaration in his budget today,” Menjo said.
According Treasury estimates, the allocation to agriculture is 5.3 per cent of the Sh1.4 trillion national budget, lower than the revised 2011/2012 allocation of 5.5 per cent.
Menjo urged government to strengthen financial institutions like Agricultural Finance Corporation to enable farmers access seasonal loans.
Brian Chebii, a wheat farmer in Uasin Gishu said he expects reduction of taxes for farm inputs and implements.
Silas Tiren, a large-scale farmer be factored for early procurement of fertilizer noting that 80 per cent of locals rely on agriculture.
Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei recently blamed perennial shortage of the inputs during planting season to failure to allocate funds for buying fertiliser in the budget.