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Kenyan Governors demand full transfer of agriculture

By Protus Onyango | Published Fri, April 24th 2015 at 08:33, Updated April 24th 2015 at 08:34 GMT +3

KISUMU: Governors want the Transitional Authority (TA) to press for the transfer of all agriculture functions to counties.

The county bosses faulted the Government for retaining some agriculture functions, making it hard for counties to revolutionise the sector.

They cited irrigation and purchase of fertiliser and seeds, which is done by the national government as functions they want devolved to the counties.

"What is the money for irrigation doing in Nairobi? The Government is frustrating devolution by retaining some of these functions yet counties should carry them out. This is making it hard for us to operate," said Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua who is also the chairman of the Council of Governors (CoG) on Agriculture and Lands.

Speaking at the second annual Devolution Conference in Kisumu, the governors said transformative leadership is critical in promoting food security in the country.

The governors also want the Government to dismantle cartels that are common in the agriculture sector so that farmers can reap maximally from their produce.

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"For farmers to fully get good prices for their products, the cartels must be dismantled so that the sector which employs more than 60 per cent of Kenyans can grow," Gachagua said.

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka said devolving the agriculture functions fully would allow counties to develop policies on how to promote agriculture in the country.

"There is no reason for the Government to dig dams, do irrigation and buy fertiliser then bring it to us to distribute. We need to be fully in charge so that we can be able to employ extension officers to advise farmers on the best agriculture practices," said Mr Lusaka.

The governors noted that there are cartels in the sugar, coffee and tea sectors that have made it hard for farmers to get more money for their produce.

For the country to be food secure, the governors said he cost of agricultural inputs should be reduced to enable farmers produce more.

"We need to lower prices of tilling land, fertiliser and seeds so that our farmers are able to produce more and sell at fair prices," Lusaka said.


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