The government has done well in terms of subsidising farm inputs and despite the drought challenge, the country is steadily moving towards actualising food security.
Never before has the country had its priorities right like in the last few years where so much has been spent to secure the sector, which is one of the backbones of the Kenyan economy.
The challenge initially experienced in the delivery of fertiliser on time to the farmer has been eliminated with the removal of middlemen. Now, fertiliser is stocked and distributed in January and March across the country to coincide with the rainy season, which has seen the farmers yield increase.
The subsidised fertilizer (from Sh4,000 to less than Sh2,500), has improved production by cutting down on the cost of production at farm level. This is a major in helping empower our farmers and nobody should criticise this move without saying what better way this can be done.
The government is building semen plants in Eldoret, Nyahururu and Sotik to enable farmers to breed strong animals. This will go a long way in improving the genetic make-up of the cows in the country. The subsidised breeding services and vaccination programmes offered by county governments have also improved farmers’ plight.
With agriculture being a devolved function, the counties have been mandated to procure and distribute fertilizer as one way to streamline the process. This is because of counties proximity to farmers and diversity to certain regions and demands, are in better positions to generate a database of genuine farmers. This has helped kick out the middle men and brokers and in doing so, it has been able to strengthen the co-operative movements to enable timely delivery of farm inputs and provide cheap loans to boost farmers capital to plough in farming.
Policies are available, which enable farmers to access cheaper seeds to stabilise the market prices. Moreover, one of the positive things done is waiving of the post-harvest charges on drying of maize.
The government is currently in the process of streamlining the dairy feed sector knowing that animal production is as good as the quality of feeds animals are fed on. Outreach programmes to educate dairy farmers countrywide have started. This initiative requires the goodwill and oversight of the government. Generally, in the Agriculture sector, everything has been made easier and faster.