There is much to discuss of a nation that cannot feed its population, though it considers agriculture as the back bone of its economy or so it goes, but who is to blame? In this discussion we seek to place the blame where it belongs using a five-point view. These are: poor planning, lack of proper structures, corruption/hoarding/brokers, climate change, poor or lack of proper absorption of innovative/technological advances in agriculture.
Most of best farming land has been consumed by mushrooming real estate development from every corner. This is land that needed very little effort if any to make it productive. Let’s take Kiambu county in Central Kenya as an example, it has rich fertile soil and adequate rainfall but what we are getting from it is land fragmentation and buildings rising from all over. This has been replicated all over the country forcing the government to seek alternative land for irrigation which is a very expensive affair. What if we used our most productive lands for agriculture and even invested half the money for irrigation in facilitating our farmers to improve production? In my honest opinion this would be part of our country’s turn around strategy in agriculture. The government should also implement an anti-land fragmentation policy in this areas so as to benefit from economies of scale in farming.
Further on planning, the relevant government agencies always seem to be caught flatfooted by deteriorating weather patterns due to climate change. As result most farmers are never able to get ample advice and hence make proper preparation for the days ahead. Kenya’s meteorological department, county governments and the national government should all work harmoniously and seamlessly to make sure that all farmers from the affected areas have drought mitigating measures to cushion them from any eventuality. It’s also proper to note that when it rains all the rain water is left to run to the sea. No one cares to harvest this water for future use. All parties that are involved in water harvesting, be it government, NGOs, philanthropist, individuals and communities should all direct their efforts where necessary, that is when it rains, to harvest as much water as possible for use when the dry spell beckons. The government should also in that regard come up and implement pro-water harvesting policies.
There is much in planning that has not been exhausted in this pioneer discussion but will be discussed in our subsequent blogs on agriculture and it’s future.
BY: DANIEL MWAI
CORPORATE MARKETER- IRES KENYA