Wednesday, September 15, 2010


On 24 July 2010 Kenya signed the African Union and the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) Compact and the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy 2010 - 2020, the new blueprint for Kenya's agricultural sector.

A pre-launch forum had been held the previous day (23 July 2010) to offer a platform for information-sharing between the CAADP Lead Pillar institutions and stakeholders.
Stakeholders were taken through detailed presentations on the 4 CAADP pillars (Pillar 1, Pillar 2, Pillar 3 and Pillar 4) and afforded a question-and-answer session.

The president together with his ministers were at hand on 24th July to witness the signing and in his address the president noted that more than 80 per cent of the total population in Africa lives in the rural areas and is mainly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and that agriculture remains the mainstay of most African economies contributing about 30 per cent to the GDP and providing more than 60 per cent of all employment. 'In spite of its importance, the agricultural sector remains largely underdeveloped in Africa," President Kibaki added. 'Out of the 874 million hectares of arable land in Africa, for example, only 27 per cent is optimally utilized'.

The President futher deplored the low use of farm inputs such as fertilizer, improved seed and mechanization, and little irrigation potential resulting in the continent being a net importer of food and agricultural products. He outlined measures that African countries should take to revitalize agriculture in Africa.

'I am encouraged to note that the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme that we shall be signing today is a step in this direction and aims at the implementation of these measures,' President Kibaki said. 'The objective of this African programme is to support country-driven agricultural development strategies and programmes by establishing clear commitments to deliver on specific targets'.

This commitment paves the way for Kenya to get resources from the World Bank and other development partners to carry out the activities it has outlined in the medium-term investment plan for the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy that will soon be presented for financing. Kenya is also expected to commit at least 10 per cent of its national budget to agriculture as is required by the CAADP Compacts.

Others who addressed participants during the launch included Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary General of COMESA; the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Romano Kiome; the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Sally Kosgei; the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

More than 400 participants attended the ceremony. Participants included sector ministers and assistant ministers, agricultural experts, policymakers, representatives from farmer organizations, the private sector, development partners, non-governmental organizations, representatives of the African Union / NEPAD, the East African Community (EAC), and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

Hon Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon Dr Sally Kosgei signed the Kenya CAADP Compact on behalf of the Government of Kenya. Other signatories to the Compact included a representative of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the EU Head of Delegation on behalf of the Agricultural Sector Development Partners, representative for the African Union Commission, Mr Sam Kanyarukiga for NEPAD (CAADP); and Mr Sindiso Ngwenya for COMESA.

Other countries in the COMESA region to sign the CAADP Compact are Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Uganda and, more recently, Tanzania.

At the same event, President Kibaki launched the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy 2010 - 2020 (ASDS). 'I am glad to note that the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy has mainstreamed all the principles of the CAADP... the strategy is effectively the Kenyan tool for implementing the continental framework,' he said. The strategy is a guide for public and private sectors efforts in overcoming the outstanding challenges facing the agricultural sector in Kenya. Besides ensuring food and nutritional security for all Kenyans, the ASDS aims at generating higher incomes as well as employment, especially in the rural areas.
The strategy is expected to position the agricultural sector as a key driver in achieving the 10 per cent annual economic growth rate envisaged under the economic pillar of Vision 2030. The agricultural sector ministries will ensure that farmers, producers, processors and marketers of agricultural produce employ the most contemporary methods and technologies. The strategy also underscores the need to develop and prudently manage factors of production such as land, water, inputs, and financial resources so that the cost of production is within international standards.

This will entail reforming and streamlining agricultural institutions that provide services to farmers such as extension, training, research and regulatory services to ensure that they serve farmers efficiently and cost effectively. Similarly, policy, legal and regulatory reforms will be instituted to encourage individual farmers to shift from subsistence to market-oriented production.

President Kibaki concluded by urging those entrusted with the responsibility of managing the sector to cultivate the culture of performance and service deliver. He also urged the farming, pastoral and fishing communities as well as the private sector to cooperate and fully participate in implementing the strategy.
President Mwai Kibaki presents the signed Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) Compact to Agriculture Minister, Dr. Sally Kosgei after the official launch of the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) at K.I.C.C, Nairobi.

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