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Munya unveils draft laws, to dissolve food authority

By Nicholas Waitathu
Friday, October 16th, 2020
Agriculture CS, Peter Munya. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

The government has drafted new laws designed to re-establish former export commodities regulatory institutions in a move which moves closer to disbanding the six-year old Agriculture Food Authority (AFA).

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya released five Bills for public participation yesterday as the ministry acclerates reform agenda designed to arouse high growth in the sector.

Speaking at Kilimo House, the CS said Sugar Bill, 2020, and Tea Bill, 2020 were at an advanced stage in Parliament as private members’ Bills.

The released bills include Coffee Bill, 2020, Fibre Crops Development Authority Bill, 2020, the Food Crops Development Bill 2020, the Horticulture Crops Authority Bill, 2020 and the Miraa, Pyrethrum, and Industrial Crops Bill 2020.

“These government-sponsored bills are part of on-going agricultural reforms that seek to increase the farmers’ incomes, in line with the Big 4 agenda and Agriculture Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS),” Munya said.

Once enacted into law, the bills will restore the Coffee Board of Kenya, Kenya Sugar Board, Tea Board of Kenya, Coconut Development Authority, Cotton Development Authority, Sisal Board of Kenya, Pyrethrum Board of Kenya and Horticultural Crops Development Authority.

The boards were disbanded in 2014 after the enactment of the Crops Act 2013 and converted into directorates and senior agriculture officers appointed on interim basis to oversee them.

Munya said reinstating the former boards would support government’s strategy to enhance regulation of the export commodities and deepening of the government sponsored reforms in addition to increasing the farmers’ incomes.

In the new era key value chains – tea, coffee and sugar will have independent boards while the other directorates like fibre crops, nuts and oils will be clustered together.

The bills are said to have introduced new governance structures and at the same time have reinstated scrapped levies.

They have also spelt out strategies to be pursued to boost production and marketing.

Technical board

For example, the Coffee Bill establishes two key institutions, a technical board and a broader, more inclusive, stakeholder council.  

The board is designed to be representative and professional in orientation, to avoid the old problem of politicisation of value chain management whereas the stakeholder council, by contrast, is advisory and primarily a mechanism for representing sector interests.

Munya said the ministry has noted that since the establishment of  AFA six years ago, key crops such as coffee, tea, sugar and pyrethrum have not received adequate attention. 

“Our intention is in line with the reforms the government is taking to fast-track agriculture sector growth with a view to enhancing its competitiveness and boosting production,” he added.

AFA controls a budgetary allocation of about Sh3 billion every year drawn from the exchequer.

The government created AFA in 2014 to manage costs in the sector but Munya disagreed, saying the same was not achieved.

Munya said the bills will be subjected to the first round of public discussion in the next 21 days.The public will have a second window to more comprehensively engage with the bills upon their submission to Parliament in a month’s time.

Early this year Cabinet approved the intention for separation of the directorates into independent boards.  

The  enactment of the bills into law will lead to repealing of the Crops Act, 2013 that created AFA.

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