KEPSA Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Sector Board held its bimonthly meeting on 3rd October 2019 at KEPSA offices. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Chris Wilson.
The objective of the meeting was to discuss sector engagements, progress made on sector regulations, Subsectors and respective leaders’ and update on the Agriculture Stakeholders Workshop held on 26th September 2019.
During the meeting members resolved to increase the subsectors from three to five in order to enhance engagements. The five subsectors are crops; farm inputs; livestock; fisheries; research and finance. The leaders of the subsectors were subsequently proposed and confirmed. Further, the meeting received a report on pending regulations and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) initiatives.
Members were apprised of the Agriculture Stakeholders Workshop that took place on 26th September, 2019 at Safari park hotel. The meeting was informed that the workshop was part of the journey meant to build synergies and collective action for policy advocacy. It was noted that private sector players in agriculture were so fragmented that policy makers find it easy to exclude them in decision making. The sector therefore needs to have a unified voice for effective and efficient advocacy.
During the workshop participants concurred on the need of an umbrella federation for the agriculture sector. It was agreed as part of coalition building, a follow-up workshop would be convened for additional stakeholders who missed the forum on 26th September.
The Agrochemicals Association of Kenya informed members about increased negative publicity on agricultural technologies more specifically GM and pesticides in the public sphere. The debate has now moved to parliament with petitions to ban some active ingredients in pesticides submitted in the National Assembly and the Senate.
It was highlighted that farmers would be disadvantaged if the ban was effected as the Kenyan climate is very conducive to pests and diseases. Further it was noted that the weakest link lies on farmers who misuse pesticides and therefore users must be trained on safe application in order to increase their productivity and produce safe, affordable and nutritious food.