In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at revitalizing Kenya’s agriculture sector, county assembly members (MCAs) from 12 counties are gearing up for comprehensive training. This program, aptly titled “Super Champions For Change Leadership,” is set to equip 177 MCAs, who are members of the Agriculture Committee, along with 12 Agriculture executives. Sponsored by USAid through the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market System (KCDMS), this training is poised to be a game-changer for agriculture and food security across the country.
A Quest for Policy and Legislation Excellence
The primary objective of this training is to create a heightened awareness of the pivotal role that the agriculture sector plays in Kenya’s development. Beyond awareness, the program is strategically designed to empower MCAs with the knowledge and skills necessary for shaping robust legislation and policy frameworks that can drive food production to new heights.
Josephine Songa, the Director of Agriculture Policy at KCDMS, pinpointed the root cause of the sector’s woes – the lack of clear policies and legal frameworks at the devolved county levels. This deficiency has led to inadequate budget allocations, with many counties earmarking less than 10 percent of their budgets for agriculture. Such meager funding has been a major roadblock, hindering food production and nutrition enhancement.
Empowering Change Agents: Building Capacity for Progress
The training agenda encompasses a wide array of crucial topics, including policy formulation and legislation, county planning and budgeting, transformational leadership, and effective oversight. Armed with this knowledge, MCAs will be better equipped to advocate for increased budget allocations to the agriculture sector in their respective counties. Simultaneously, they will be able to establish policy frameworks and legislation that can attract private sector investments, bolstering the sector’s growth.
A Ripple Effect of Knowledge Sharing
The impact of this training extends far beyond the individual MCAs and executives. Once equipped with this newfound expertise, they are expected to cascade the knowledge to their colleagues within other relevant committees. This knowledge-sharing mechanism ensures that the agriculture sector, a powerhouse contributor to Kenya’s GDP, receives the critical attention it deserves.
Josephine Songa emphasized the transformation this training aims to bring about: “When they are on the floor of the house, we expect them to debate from a point of knowledge and make approvals on issues they understand.”
Migori Takes the Lead in Agricultural Transformation
The recent training session in Kisumu, attended by MCAs and executives from Migori and Kisii counties, shed light on critical gaps in the agriculture sector that require legislative attention. Lucas Musenda, the Agriculture executive in Migori, highlighted the training’s importance and the role it plays in identifying these gaps.
Funding remains a significant challenge, but collaborative efforts between MCAs and department officers are expected to open doors for lobbying and networking. The Migori government is already reaching out to the private sector to secure additional funding, with the ultimate goal of enhancing food production in the region.
Felix Odhiambo, the Agriculture Committee chairperson in Migori, emphasized that the lack of knowledge had been a stumbling block in crafting effective legislation. This training is seen as a catalyst, empowering MCAs with the necessary insights to create policies and laws that will foster a more agriculturally friendly environment.
In conclusion, this initiative represents a pivotal moment in Kenya’s agricultural landscape. By arming county assembly members with knowledge and skills, the nation is laying the foundation for a brighter and more prosperous future, where agriculture thrives and food security becomes a reality.
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