The Agriculture sector has been allocated Sh49.9 billion in the 2023-2024 budget, to strengthen operations.
During the presentation of the budget estimates at Parliament in Nairobi on Thursday, June 15, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u emphasized the crucial role of the funding in implementing strategic measures to ensure food security in the country, with a focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Among the proposed allocations, the CS suggested Sh5 billion goes towards the fertilizer subsidy program and Sh8.6 billion towards the national agricultural value chain development project.
Additionally, he recommended Sh2.7 billion for the national development and rural inclusivity program, and Sh2.1 billion for the Kenya Cereal Enhancement program. Notably, Sh2.8 billion was also set aside for the emergency locust response to combat the threat of locust infestation.
Small-scale irrigation and value-addition programs were allocated Sh1.4 billion, while another Sh1.4 billion was dedicated to food production and nutrition security programs.
The ministry also proposed another Sh500 million for the agricultural sector support program and Sh596 million for the food security and crop diversification project.
“The government's commitment to supporting farmers in accessing affordable fertilizers, which are essential for improving crop yields and overall agricultural productivity. This initiative is expected to make a significant contribution to increasing food production in the country,” said Ndung’u.
Ndung’u proposed a Sh8.6 billion allocation for the national agricultural value chain development project, saying the move underscores the government's determination to enhance the entire agricultural value chain.
The funds, he said, will facilitate improvements in infrastructure, storage facilities, processing plants, and marketing strategies, ultimately promoting efficient production and distribution of agricultural products.
He further proposed Sh2.7 billion for the national development and rural inclusivity program.
To boost cereal production, the government plans to allocate Sh2.1 billion to the Kenya Cereal enhancement program.
“This program will support research and development efforts, technological advancements, and extension services aimed at enhancing cereal crop yields, reducing post-harvest losses, and improving overall cereal production in the country,” Ndungu said.
The CS further proposed Sh2.8 billion for the emergency locust response.
The funding, he said, will be utilized for surveillance and control measures to combat the locust menace and protect agricultural crops from further devastation.
On agricultural production, he proposed an allocation of Sh1.4 billion for small-scale irrigation and value-addition programs for the establishment and maintenance of irrigation schemes, promoting water-efficient agricultural practices and enabling farmers to diversify their crops and increase their incomes.
The agricultural sector support program will receive Sh500 million to provide financial assistance and capacity-building initiatives to farmers, cooperatives, and other stakeholders involved in agriculture.
Food security and crop diversification project will receive Sh596 million, with the aim of diversifying crop production and reducing dependence on a few key crops.
This project will support research, training, and extension services to encourage the cultivation of alternative crops and improve food security in the country.