Agri-based players lobby for greater budgetary allocations
Published on: February 07, 2019 11:20 (EAT)
Players drawn from the wider agricultural sector have urged parliament to increase its revenue allocation to the crucial economic segment as a share of total government expenditure, this to cater for the sector’s increasing needs. According to the players, additional funding in agriculture would serve to bridge the gap to the realization of a food secure nation to include investments in food safety and the re-energizing of the now new-extinct extension services. Speaking during a pre-budget analysis forum organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Tuesday, Consumer Unit & Trust Society (CUTS) Head of Consumer Protection and Governance Daniel Okendo further called for the alignment of expenditure to specific projects to allow for targeted spending by the Agriculture ministry. “We would want to see a breakdown of budget information relating to food safety specific programmes to allow for targeted spending in the sector,” he said. “The effect to spending agricultural funds on pubic goods such as research, extension services and development the sector is that it becomes productive and more beneficial to small-scale farmers by reducing poverty,” Kenya Small-Scale Farmers Forum country coordinator Christine Kakuu added. The industry stakeholders are seeking to have the allocation to agriculture raised to a minimum of 10 percent of all budget expenditure in accordance to the Malabo Declaration made in 2014 in Equatorial Guinea. The declaration is aimed at alleviating hunger on the continent and the removal of post-harvest losses by the year 2025 through the enhancement of investments to create efficiency and effectiveness in the sector. Kenya’s allocation to the now devolved agricultural function sits an average low of 3.1 percent of total revenue in spite of the major contribution of the sector to job creation and economic growth. Revenues for the sector are expected to come in at Ksh 54.6 billion at the end of the ongoing 2018/19 fiscal year and are only projected to grow by a mere 0.1 percent in four years to Ksh. 61.2 billion in 2021/22. Agriculture alone contributed to about Ksh. 2.3 trillion of the recorded GDP in 2017, an equivalent of 29.7 percent. The segment remains central to Kenya’s development agenda and is enshrined as part of the President’s five year development strategy.