Agriculture contributes to about 25% of Gross Domestic Product. It plays major roles such as creation of employment, source of income to farmers, enhance food security and improve general living standards. This study is to understand the different legislative frameworks on agriculture and how they affect agriculture and the economy. The regulating bodies that take part in ensuring appropriate policies are developed include; Kenya Bureau of standards(KEBS), National Environmental management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services(KEPHIS), Department of the veterinary services, Plant Protection Services, Pest Control Products Board etc.
Different legislative policies have been put in place to control and monitor agriculture in Kenya. Some policies that were developed before didn’t address problems faced in agriculture and agribusiness sector. Therefore new ones have been formed to enable adequate coverage of the sector. These policies include;
- National Potato Industry Policy
- National Seed Industry Policies
- Agricultural Sector Development Strategies (ASDS 2010-2020)
- Pyrethrum Industry Policy & Amendment of Pyrethrum act
- Amendment of Coffee Act .
- National Food & Nutrition Policy
- Agriculture Livestock & Food Act 2013
- Livestock Act.
- Cotton Policy and Repeal of cotton Industry Act Cap335
- Fisheries Act
- Crop Act 2013
- Agricultural and livestock research Act 2013.
Policy 1; NATIONAL POTATO INDUSTRY POLICY.
The potato industry faced several challenges which the regulatory framework of the government did not address previously. There was low adoption of standardized packaging and weight for potatoes, quality seed supply was not adequate to meet the needs of the farmers, most farmers did not access them leading to mixing of varieties of potatoes that were eventually rejected on export. There was inadequate adoption of production information technology by most farmers and minimum value addition on the potatoes was done. The high cost of farm inputs discouraged most farmers since affordable credit were inadequate.
- New regulatory policies have been developed to support potato industry at large. These involve adopting new technologies in production of potatoes especially the seeds to ensure quality in production.
The seed and Plant Varieties Act has been revised to allow private seed inspectors under KEPHIS license.
Support institutions and make regulations that will favour the production of potatoes.
- In order to increase shelf life of the potato seed, there have been more storage facilities put at strategic locations for easy access by farmers and breeders. More land has been availed by the government to enable intensive production such as irrigating dryland.
- Restriction policy on importation of potato tubers in seed and plant varieties act in 1972 that lead to poor quality of seed and preferred varieties was revised in 2013 to allow more importation of high quality seeds.
- Due to structural changes in 1990s land ownership was restricted to small sizes, but now the government has allowed most of agricultural institution to own large sizes of land to allow fast multiplication of the seeds such as KALRO and ADC.
- Research on potato has been encouraged especially on control and management of existing and emerging pests and diseases on potatoes. Also agronomic package that is on soil fertility , appropriate seed rate fertilizer that will suite the production is being researched on.
- Potato production is being commercialized as compared to the past where is was done traditionally on small scale. Subsidized production also takes place to encourage many people to engage in production.
- There is improvement in handling of post harvest , value addition and marketing through training youth and industry players in agribusiness and improving extension services in partnership of county government and development partners. Processors are to do contract farming to be assured of regular and reliable supply of potatoes.
- Livestock keeping faced a lot of challenges that were caused by legislative policies. The scrapping of export compensation pushed most of leather exporters out of market. Hence resulting to more importation of leather than exportation.
- Most farmers kept indigenous type of livestock which lead to poor breed. There were no program s on improving the genetic composition of the breeds.
- Disease was a major challenge which was not intensively covered for by the government leading to high mortality rate of livestock.
- New policies have been developed to address the challenges in livestock keeping which include
- Insurance schemes has been introduced on livestock to encourage participation in livestock keeping also disease free zones have been created by introducing veterinary policies to reduce death rate of livestock.
- Improving of breeds and genetic programs through substitution of exotic breeds with indigenous and crossbreeding others.
- There is policies on on-farm intervention to enable increase and availability of local feeds and agro-ecological conditions that suite the keeping.
- Many institutions have come up to provide services such as training , research and extension and marketing of livestock and livestock products.
- Introducing disease free zones and livestock facilities to enable the country to meet international standards of export.
- Before there were no provisions to regulate the fishing sector. The sector was overlooked ,low public investment was done. And therefore the aquaculture sector was over exploited. Fishing itself become a challenge to most farmers since poor quality was exported leading to banning of export from lake Victoria to European Union. There was less coordination and cooperation among different institutions such as those associated with environment leading to pollution and mismanagement of sector.
Draft of policies have been developed to cater for the sector which include the following
- There is promotion of fish quality, marketing and investment in the sector by improving infrastructure and human resource development. Cooperation and coordination of different institutions in research and provision of training and extension services to equip the fisheries skills and knowledge on marketing and value additions is enhanced.
- Improvement of fish handling practices and packaging and introducing laboratory to test the quality of fish before they are exported.
- Government has developed facilities and infrastructure such as cooling plants to reduce wastage and meet the required sanitary and health standards.
- Encourage growth of microfinance institution to provide credit and promotion closer regional co operation in management and regulation of trans-boundary fisheries resources.
4.DEVELOPMENT OF SUGAR POLICY AND AMENDMENT OF SUGAR ACT No. 10.
Sugar sector has faced several challenges due to regulations and policies that were put in place.
- Market liberalization by the government has lead to removal of price control which has killed the domestic producers of sugar.
- Tariffs which were to regulate the production and regulate imports were removed this policy became a threat to the local producers of sugar.
- Stiff competition from cheap selling markets such as COMESA and low free world market prices contributed a lot to failure of sugar sector.
- Other problems that faced sugar production is the low quality seeds,high leve of taxation to farmers and millers leading to heavy tax burdens and in adequate Sugar Development Funds to finance the local producers.
- New policies on encouraging the institutions such as Kenya Sugar Research Foundation(KESREF) to conduct research on disease resistant varieties and early maturing seeds to enhance faster growth.
- To reduce tax burden , new policies have been put in place to reduce taxes and levies on sugar production.
- Introducing value addition on sugar and diversification by creating insurance scheme in sugar development fund.
- There is preservation of local and export preferential market by using anti-dumping system and safeguards.
- Many irrigation scheme have been developed to avoid depending on rain fed sugar also to create more space for sugar farming.
- For debt relief, some debts are written off due to sugar development fund.
5.AGRICULTURAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES.
- This sector was to ensure economy and agricultural sectors are being utilized to the maximum. There was less coordination across the ministry. And therefore new body called agricultural sector coordination unit (ASCU) was established.
- Most of agricultural institution were failing due to mismanagement of funds by the governing bodies and lack of support from the government.
- There is high rate of poverty and food insecurity which contributes greatly on economic failure and increase subsistence farming among smallholders.
- Land was not exploited fully also marketing of produced products became a big challenge that was not fully addressed.
- There was revival of different agricultural institutions such as Kenya meat commission (KMC),Kenya co-operative creamaries (KCC) and Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) which had a major function in training ,extension services and also research.
- Promotion of agricultural sector by encouraging commercialization rather than subsistence farming. This was to reduce food insecurity and poverty eradication .
- Value addition on the produced goods is being established to increase the price and value of exported goods to global markets to increase level of competition. The handling losses and post harvest losses incurred .
- Agricultural research is being undertaken by both private and public sector to increase productivity, proper quality and competitiveness in domestic and global markets.There is development of global information networks to improve agribusiness and market access.
- There has been establishment of safety polices to ensure health and measures are adhered to. This involve improving conservation and management of resources to reduce pollution such as water.
- Taxation system has to be reviewed to reduce taxation on agricultural goods produced and sold.
6.NATIONAL SEED POLICY.
- Seed sector had several challenges that faced it due to regulations that were put in place by the government. Seed regulation committee functions overlapped those of KEPHIS which had a major role in regulating the seed sector.
- The policies were put in place to enhance transformation of seed sector and its ability to produce adequate and high quality seed to the farmers of Kenya.
- The previous policies restricted the national Variety Release Committee from releasing the date but now the policy has allowed the NVRC to release the date to enable the variety owner to do multiplication of seed variety and those who import will have adequate time to import the variety.
- There has been revision of Seed and Plant Varieties Act to enable it incorporate Plant variety protection (plant breeders rights).
- There has been dual participation of both private and public sector to harmonize regional policies to ease the cross border trade of seeds also enable the country conform to international standards.
- Improved technology and infrastructure to stimulate proper exploitation of varieties and also increase the level of agricultural productivity.
- By allowing authorization and registration of private seed inspectors and seed testing services to supplement the KEPHIS services.
- Implementing phytosanitary measures to provide rules for prevention of introduction of and spread of pests and disease. This is practiced under Noxious Weed Act Cap 325 that provides for suppression of noxious weeds and Plant Protection Act.
- Maintanance and certification of high value crops that is and establishment of genetic resource centre to deal with valuation of varieties.
7.NATIONAL AGRICULTURE AND EXTENSION.
- Agricultural sector has had a limited number of agricultural extension officers to equip farmers with knowledge on agriculture. Extension services play a major role in agricultural production.
- Most of the farmers depended on this officers for marketing of their produce which became a big challenge because most the extension officers were not readily available as per demand.
- New policies of putting up E-extension services ie electronic extension services has been developed to enable farmers to easily access the services at any time.
- Most of the institutions have been supported financially such as KARI to ensure appropriate information has reached farmers on time.
- Extension services has a major role in ensuring that agricultural production is done appropriately to reduce food insecurity.
- Its through the officers that the technological advancement has been appreciated by the farmers. This was practiced by ATIRI, Agricultural Technology and Information Response Initiative which was formed by KARI. They used the CBOs community based organization and other farmers intermediaries to reach small farmers. They equipped different farmers with skills on how to use new technology.
- Most farmers lacked information on the appropriate seeds , fertilizers to use and how to control pests that were attacking most of their produce, the officers had to intervene to ensure appropriate and adequate information on the same is reached to reduce poverty and increase productivity.
- Previously, the service providers were government sponsored such as, Agricultural technology and information Response Initiative (ATIRI), National agriculture and Livestock program(NALEP) but now the private companies have been incorporated such agrochemical industries to train farmers appropriate ways of using their produce such as fertilizers and chemicals.
- The government and other private companies finance the agricultural shows that is one way of promoting the use of new technology in agriculture and educating farmers on the same.
- Farmers are being encouraged to diversify their production that is not depend on one product for survival example we have bee keeping in dry areas and introducing improved way of bee keeping instead of depending on source.
- Government has introduced different technological facilities to improve the value of produced goods. The value addition starts at farm level where farmers are advised not sell the produce in raw form but to add value on it. For instance maize production, value addition begins with the quality of seeds, fertilizers used and post harvesting handling. Finally storing it until the demand is high is another way of adding value.
- Farmers are being linked to the market through provision of information on where the demand of their product is high and where there is low. There is of devolution in agriculture hence agriculture is being intensified.
8.AGRICULTURAL LIVESTOCK AND RESEARCH ACT
This is an important activity in stimulating agriculture in Kenya. Research has several challenges as far as policies are concerned. There has been reduction in research activities in Agriculture. Research was being emphasized on cash crops and major food crops which didn’t cater for most problems related to agriculture as a whole. There fore farmers had insufficient knowledge regarding agriculture and extension services.
- Detailed research on input especiallz for small scale farmer has to be done to ensure adequate information in reached. And productivity as far as poverty reduction is concerned should be researched on.
- There is policy on promoting technologies on agriculture is being developed. This is to ensure farmers are adopting new inventions in agricultural research to ensure all efficiency in production.
- Value chain research is being strengthen to enhance quality production and also produce to meet the international standards to attract good prices in the world wide market.
- Promotion of market and marketing strategies such as advertising is one way of encouraging increased production and reliability in supply.
9.COTTON POLICY AND REPEAL OF COTTON INDUSTRY ACT CAP 335.
- Cotton industry is one of industries in Kenya that is dying due to mismanagement. There was policy to do away with the cotton industry due to liberalization of the market.
- There was restriction on importation of the quality seeds which lead to reduced production and low quality output. The unpredictable prices on cotton in global market contributed greatly on dying of industry.
- The importation of certified seeds has been allowed. Policy allows importation of seeds from Israel to small scale farmers to encourage them practice cotton farming.
- Many textile industries are come up to ensure demand for cotton is increased and farmers are assured of the market.
- Value addition is being done to enhance self sufficiency in production. The policies to regulate the prices to encourage more farmers to produce cotton.
- There has been advisory committee to ensure appropriate policies in favor of cotton industry are developed. Control of pests and disease which was a major challenge to most farmers, was addressed by introducing extension officers and research to enhance proper control of the same.
10.LIVESTOCK AND AGRICULTURAL POLICY
This sector had several challenges such as, government did not finance most of the institutions that were offering the services to smallholders. The poor infrastructure contributed largely at hindering the transportation of livestock and agricultural produce. Inadequate knowledge and skills on improving the productivity through access to credit and adoption of new technology was a major factor. Also marketing of produce due to liberalization led to a major challenge to most of the farmers.
- There is need to increase food sufficiency by encouraging farmers to produce what is adequate for consumption and selling the surplus. This is done by commercializing agriculture by offering credit to farmers to enable them improve agriculture .
- There are new policies introduced to protect the consumers and producers rights such as property rights to protect them against exploitation. Stakeholders participation in agriculture has increased and its being encouraged to ensure high rate of productivity in livestock and agriculture.
- To improve health problems on the livestock consumers, new safety net policies have come up by regulatory firm such as KEBS and Health and Safety Standards. This has reduced problems concerning consuming harmful meat and product .
- Intensive agricultural training and extensive services have been developed to ensure adequate and appropriate information has reached farmers. The women and youths are encouraged to access credit and land since they play a major role in production.
- Standardization and weighing of agricultural produce has been introduced to avoid farmers being exploited .
- Poor quality of the seeds,lack of incentives to support both cash and food crop and farmers rights were not taken into consideration. Low demand of the produce due to poor marketing strategies. Strict land use policies that hinder extensive use of land has contributed largely on low production of crops.
- There is more subsistence farming than commercial farming among most of smallhoders in Kenya. Less emphasize has been put to ensure crop production is commercialized to reduce food insecurity and increase income .
- There has been increased quality of seeds through importation and value addition to ensure quantity and quality production. Introduction of hybrid seeds by Ariga and Jayne (2011).
- Also Genetically Modified Organisms has been introduced to reduce food insecurity. this was made success by supporting the research institutions such as KALRO to ensure information has reached all farmers in adopting the new technology.
- Creating market for the local crops produced through creating agro-food industries that depends on locally produced raw materials. Also cultivated land has been increased through introduction of irrigation schemes.
- Provision of credit to farmers in order to increase produce. Crop act in section 8 and section 10 lays out support but only for scheduled crops while section 9 provides for commodity fund which would support farmers with affordable credit and advances to farmers to buy inputs.
- Section 12 of AFFA act empowers AFFA support farmers of scheduled crops with affordable inputs and credit.
- Section 4b of crop act requires that land be used in a sustainable and environmental friendly manner.
- Crop varieties will be matched with conditions by provision of section 8i which empowers AFFA to develop crop varieties match the agro-climatic condition of the area.
- Seeds and varieties act provides for a process in 15 and 16 that may include in assessment of risk and performance of seeds of any plant including imports and approval process.
Policies have a great challenge on agriculture and therefore a keen attention has to be given when developing them so as to improve the sector. If government does not pay much attention most sectors of agriculture will fail. Example is sugar and fisheries sectors.