AGRA Unveils Strategy to Boost Food Security and Smallholder Farmer Resilience in Kenya

From left Betty Kibaara, Director, Rockefeller Foundation & PIATA Representative, Joseph Kirubi, MOA , Agnes Kalibata, AGRA president, Kiplimo Lagat, Nandi CEC and John Macharia, AGRA Kenya Country Manager

By Kimuri Mwangi

AGRA launched its Kenya Strategy to support the country’s efforts to enhance food security and build the resilience of smallholder farmers by strengthening market systems.

The 5-year strategy aligns with Kenya’s Vision 2030 blueprint for long-term development, which aims to transform the country into a newly industrializing, middle-income nation.  The strategy builds on the achievements and lessons from Agra 2.0 strategy.

John Macharia, the AGRA Kenya Country Manager leads others in a dance during the launch of AGRA Kenya Country 2023-2027 Strategy

Speaking during the unveiling of the new strategy in Nairobi, Kenya, AGRA President Dr. Agnes Kalibata noted that the strategy focuses on addressing key challenges facing the agricultural sector, such as the need to assess the impact of climate change and its shocks, prioritize disease monitoring, and focus on building markets to pull sustainable farming practices.

“Our delivery model will continue to scale and leverage proven approaches to deliver a competitive and inclusive agricultural transformation in Kenya. We are committed to working closely with smallholder farmers, the private sector, and other stakeholders to enhance food security and build the resilience of the agricultural sector,” Dr. Kalibata said.

In Kenya, the agricultural sector has traditionally, played a crucial role in ensuring food security, job creation, income generation, foreign exchange earnings and linkages with other sectors of the economy.   Over the years, successive governments have prioritised agriculture through digitising the subsidies programme and loan commercialisation; despite these efforts, the sector remains characterised by weak vertical integration as a result of unpredictable weather patterns and recurrence of insecurity particularly in the ASALs.  Some of the many challenges facing the sector remain major threats to national economic progress.

From left Government officials Charles Kemboi( Technical lead MSMES and Trade), Dr. Irene Asienga ( advisor budgets and fiscal policy), Elizabeth Chepkurui ( Advisor, Gender), Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President

“The Kenya Kwanza Government is keen on strengthening longer-term resilience and increasing agricultural capacity investments to boost domestic food production. Public-private partnerships have the potential to revolutionize food security in Kenya by combining the strengths of both sectors to create sustainable solutions that benefit the entire population,” said Hon Mithinka Linturi, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development said it will implement various programmes to improve agricultural productivity, food and nutrition security, value chain development, market access and trade, climate change, and the policy and legal framework. The ultimate goal is to ensure 100% food and nutrition security and contribute to income and employment creation in a secure environment.

In recognition of the wide-ranging nature and complexity of the challenges facing smallholder farmers in Africa, AGRA says it sees strategic partnerships as a key pillar of its strategy.  These partnerships support the creation of alignment between government priorities and private sector interests, for improving impact at smallholder farmer level and for mobilizing private sector investment to scale.

As such, The Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) was launched in 2017 as a vehicle of mobilising strategic partnerships for transforming agricultural systems. This is being achieved by driving integrated delivery within agro-economic zones and across value chains, for enhancing in-country coordination and for deepening engagements with the private sector to transition African agriculture from subsistence to sustainable business occupations.

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