Counties frustrating food security quest

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 00:00 |
Maize farming. Photo/Courtesy

The desperation in the face of the locust invasion in parts of the country, and the use of primitive methods to fight the highly destructive insects, sums up the state of the agriculture sector.

With such an approach to the crisis in the sector, considered the backbone of the economy, the dream of making Kenya food secure will continue to be elusive.

The state of the sector, which has been under the ambit of counties since the onset of devolution, points out to poor synergies between the two arms of government with county governments refusing to make proper use of resources from the national government.

The myriad problems facing the cooperative movement, which has been a key cog of development in the agriculture sector before devolution, is not helping the situation.

Pests and diseases are among setbacks in the sector. This is made worse by acute shortage and poor quality of storage facilities, which not only results in huge post-harvest loss of crops but also contributes to afflatoxin among other after-harvest problems.

The poor state of rural roads that link farmers to storage facilities and markets is also a matter of serious concern that needs to be promptly addressed if Kenya hopes to make food shortages a thing of the past.

Lack of proper information and resources to help control pests and diseases has also greatly compromised the quest for food security.

Unfortunately, the devolved units are comfortable waiting for allocations from the Treasury, instead of making systems work within their own jurisdictions.

One wonders why governors are more interested in politicking instead of coming up with development projects which can help the counties spur growth and enhance development.

It would make better economic sense if governors directed half the amount of energy they spend on pushing deals and political strategising on efforts that would grease the wheels of economic growth.

Instead of concentrating on politics, governors should spend more time, energies and resources in initiating and implementing development projects that can transform the lives of residents. It is not too late to start this noble endeavour.

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