CoG asks State to free Agriculture functions
Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
The Council of Governors (CoG) has declared the Agriculture sector moribund, saying the State is frustrating devolution by clinging to some devolved functions.
Speaking after a consultative meeting with the Senate Agriculture, livestock and fisheries committee in Mombasa, the CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya said the sector is in the Intensive Care Unit and required a quick fix to turn it around.
According to Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, who chairs the CoG Agriculture Committee, the national government still controls the sector by making key decisions despite agriculture being a devolved function.
In a joint communique, Njuki blamed “cartels in the ministry of agriculture” for the situation, saying the ministry “continued to develop legislative and regulatory framework without involving county governments.”
“The ministry has deliberately fragmented the cooperative societies rather than taking an approach to strengthen them…
Having inherited a sector that was ailing, counties have continued to experience a myriad of challenges which include budgetary constraints, excess food imports and lack of data to support agriculture since research in the sector is dead,” said the Tharaka Nithi Governor.
Review of law
Going forward, the COG and the Senate Committee resolved that within six months, they shall initiate a legislative review to all the laws enacted prior to promulgation, with a view to amend or repeal laws that create National Government parastatals undertaking devolved functions.
“The Council of Governors and the Senate shall undertake a legal review of all laws in the agriculture sector to ensure conformity with the constitution.
“Henceforth, the Senate shall not consider any bills - concerning county governments - be developed without proper and meaningful consultation and involvement of County Governments,” said Ndwiga.
County governments resolved to allocate 10 per cent of their annual budget to the sector as per the Maputo Declaration and urged Treasury to follow suit.