Rice farmer Churchill Ouma at work on his farm in Ahero, Kisumu County, in May. The Opposition says it will help farmers to mitigate the high cost of production that often causes high food prices. [File, Standard]
The National Super Alliance (NASA) has come up with a Kenya Integrated Food Security Plan (Keinfose Plan) that seeks to offer solutions to food insecurity in the country.
The Raila Odinga-led coalition is now promising incentives to be extended to landowners in areas with good agricultural potential and to put land currently lying idle to agricultural use.
In order to have sufficient food for the population, NASA is promising to provide water for irrigation to small-scale producers by developing water sources, water pans, dams and reticulation systems.
“The Government will support farmers to increase agricultural and livestock productivity through development and application of new technologies, and educating farmers on the uses of such technology and production methods,” reads part of the Keinfose Plan.
In addition, the coalition will help farmers to mitigate the high cost of production that often leads to high food prices.
The plan says this will be achieved through reducing taxes on fertilisers, chemicals, equipment and other farming-related services.
“The NASA government will build water reservoirs – dams and water pans – in the agricultural belt to enable small-scale agricultural producers to access water for domestic use, irrigation, crop production, livestock and other farm activities,” reads the plan.
Kenya prides itself as a predominantly agrarian economy, with agriculture contributing 30 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing more than 70 per cent of Kenya’s workforce and contributing 65 per cent of the total exports.
According to the document, low and unstable agricultural production and productivity occasioned by over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture is one of the reasons why there is food insecurity in the country.
The Keinfose Plan also lists the relatively high cost of production vis a vis low producer prices, coupled with high uncertainty in income flows due to price volatility in agricultural commodities as a reason why the country is food deficient.
“Inadequate infrastructure such as transport, communications, storage and processing facilities that hinder access to factories and product markets has led to food insecurity in the country,” reads the plan.
In its 10-pillars plan, NASA cites crop diversification as a means to ensuring food security. The document points out that it is not enough to have access to food, but it must also be in the right quantities, qualities and in a sustainable manner.
Should NASA forms the next government, it would seek to attract the young and the educated to agriculture.