By Michelle Amayayi

In light of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the Big Four Agenda, Kenya hosted a National Agriculture Summit dubbed ‘Kilimo summit’ on 26th and 27th February 2020 in Nairobi where stakeholders in the agricultural industry held deliberations on ways to revamp the sector.

Hon. Peter Munya, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, who spoke during the summit said that it was imperative to transform the country’s agricultural sector as it is the bedrock of the country’s development. He also noted the challenge of under producing and low quality of seeds as being the major problems facing agriculture.

He urged stakeholders to come together in reforming, modernizing and offering extension services in the agricultural sector. He emphasized on the importance of involving the youth in agricultural reforms as they are the future agricultural leaders and to seek their help in digitization of agriculture which will make it efficient and productive.

Dr. Bimal Kantaria, Chairman, Elgon Kenya, during the summit noted that there is need for united, innovative and proactive approaches that will address issues across the value chain while coordinating interventions from stakeholders as agriculture propels the country’s economic growth.

Prof. Micheni Ntiba, Permanent Secretary, State Department for fisheries and blue economy, outlines how investing in aquaculture can boost the country’s economy, aid in nutrition and create employment opportunities for Kenyans.

The partnership brought together the government, private sector and innovators who committed themselves to improving the agricultural sector and coming up with sustainable innovations to make the sector proactive. Stakeholders put a united front in identifying the challenges experienced in the industry and coming up with a strategy to deal with the challenges.

The deliberations were focused on identifying challenges, building synergy to deal with the challenges, creating and seizing opportunities, financial assistance available as well as the impact of devolution on agriculture.

The summit also witnessed the launch of the Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET) and the Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Platform Window on SDG2, which also unveiled its three – year roadmap.

Youth engagement was broadly discussed as the stakeholders agreed that without engaging the youth in agriculture there would be wastage of resources. It was decided that the youth would be the major champions of the network.

The youth on the other hand were urged to be proactive and to research widely on agriculture in order to have a place in the agricultural sector and to also uptake the available opportunities in the industry as agribusiness is very lucrative.

The discussions also recognized how some agricultural practices affect the environment and the need to be sensitized on environmentally safe agricultural practices. The government agreed to enforce regulations regarding agricultural activities to ensure there is minimized negative effects on the environment.

The summit saw to it that stakeholders commit to fast tracking agricultural nutritional perspectives. It was agreed that knots on multisector partnerships need to be tightened and that there was need for accountability, increase in productivity, effective communication and knowledge management for the industry in order to yield great results.