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What is holding back Kenya’s agricultural development? Our Expert Group is on the way to find out

In the next decade agricultural development in Africa will occur against a backdrop of dynamic changes in global, regional and national economies, driven by rapid globalization, increasing demand for strategic resources, instabilities affecting agro-food and energy systems and, not the least, by the growing population.

Kenya’s Agriculture Development Strategy (ASDS) 2010-2020 recognizes this scenario and lays down the roadmap for development of the agricultural sector so that it helps Kenya to become a middle-income country by 2030. The strategy targets those who work towards the development of the sector. In this context, policy makers are of particular importance because of their position. A well-informed and engaged policy formulation process, in its turn, can have a significant impact on all aspects of agriculture development. Analysis by experts from different, but related fields can play an important role in informing progressive policies.

A baseline survey carried out by the Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP) indicated that Kenya’s overwhelming agricultural potential is not close to realization. Moreover, the survey showed a worrying trend in the status of food security, food productivity and incomes, revealing prevailing unemployment and underemployment in agriculture among the population in general and low participation of youth and women in agricultural development in particular.

With the backing from Sida and SIANI ASDSP has created an Expert Group to make a detailed analysis of agricultural sector in Kenya, building on the results from the ASDSP survey. It is an interdisciplinary Expert Group consisting of membership drawn from private sector, academia, civil society, policy, financial institutions and government, capable of providing policy makers and other stakeholders with a holistic analysis of the agricultural sector.

The aim of the group is to facilitate a holistic understanding of emerging issues within Kenya’s Agricultural Sector through capacity development of strategic partners. The findings from the analysis will not only enrich the expertise of the programme, but will also contribute to capacity development of the sector as a whole. It is expected that the group will have linkages with other global networks engaged in the sector. Finally, the work of the group will also contribute to the Swedish Policy on Global Development, underscoring agriculture.

The scope of work is to highlight the major issues holding-back commercialization of agriculture as well as the sector’s potential, with special focus on food and nutritional security. Using the ASDPS baseline survey as a starting point, the expert group will attempt to answer three questions regarding agriculture in Kenya:

1) What is the current status of the agricultural sector in Kenya?

2) Why is the sector the way it is?

3) How can stakeholders   harness the sector’s potential and remove obstacles to commercialisation?

The Expert Group will generate a database consolidating existing agricultural data and produce a report to answer the above questions. The report will be complemented by a series of policy briefs and case studies targeting Kenyan government. The group will also arrange seminar series to disseminate the groups’ findings.

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