KENYA- In the 2023-24 budget proposals presented to Parliament on Thursday, Sh49.9 billion will be allocated to agriculture.
Compared to Uhuru Kenyatta’s last year in office, President William Ruto’s maiden budget of Sh3.68 trillion represents a 251 billion increase.
Among the Sh49.9 billion, the State Department for Crop Development will spend Sh46.4 billion.
Njuguna Ndung’u, the Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury, said the amount will be used to improve food security in the country through climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Although the budgeted allocation is Sh10 billion less than the Sh60 billion in the 2021-22 budget, fertilizer subsidies, and climate change mitigation are the priority areas.
In order to boost food production and cushion farmers against high prices, the subsidy programme received Sh5 billion.
According to Ndungu, Ruto’s first budget will focus on five strategic priorities with the largest economic impact in order to raise the welfare of households.
Aside from micro-enterprises, housing and settlement, healthcare, and the digital superhighway, creative industries are also included.
“As part of the country’s long-term food security plan, the government will work with the private sector to continue to subsidise fertiliser in order to make fertiliser available and improve productivity in counties,” Ndungu said.
Due to its strong forward and backward links to other sectors, agriculture has the highest employment multiplier effect.
According to the CS, the government will make further investments to revitalize and enhance the output of cash crops so as to maximize their benefits.
A total of Sh120 million was allocated to cotton farming, Sh62 million to coconut farming, Sh35 million to cashew nut farming, and Sh150 million to pyrethrum farming.
“I also propose budget allocations of Sh100 million for modernisation of cooperative cotton ginneries, Sh134 million for National Edible Oil Crops Promotion Project and Sh270 million for sugar reforms support project,” Ndungu said.
In addition, the State Department for Livestock was allocated Sh18.8 billion for the management and development of livestock resources.
A total of Sh7.5 billion will be spent on general administration planning and support services.
Sh11.8 billion went to the State Department for Blue Economy and Fisheries, Sh9 billion went to fisheries development and management, and Sh255.1 million was allocated to administration, planning, and support.
Blue economy development and coordination received Sh2.4 billion, cooperative development and management received Sh2 billion, and the State Department of Irrigation received Sh24.7 billion.
Development and management will account for some Sh31.5 billion, agribusiness and information management for Sh1.6 billion while agricultural research and development will account for Sh5.7 billion.
The budget also allocates Sh1.4 billion for small-scale irrigation and value-addition projects.
For the Kenya cereal enhancement program, Sh2.1 billion has been allocated, Sh2.7 billion has been allocated for the Agriculture and Rural Inclusivity project, and Sh8.6 billion has been allocated for the National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP).
Climate-smart agricultural productivity project received Sh1.5 billion while emergence of locusts was given Sh2.8 billion.
Food and nutrition security were allocated Sh1.3 billion, while the blue economy priority project received Sh8.1 billion.
According to the CS, Sh7.5 billion will go to improving livestock production, Sh350 million to developing leather industry parks, Sh500 million to the Agriculture Support Programme, and Sh496 million to the Food Security and Crop Diversification Programme.
Also, the government allocated Sh3 billion to complete 181 stalled markets from 2008.
A further Sh4.7 billion has been allocated to counties as conditional grants for the establishment of 47 aggregation and industrial parks aimed at assisting farmers with value addition and market access.