A multi-storeyed kitchen garden at Wambugu Agriculture Training Centre in Nyeri County. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The cost of basic items in Kenya has skyrocketed to a level requiring serious policy thought and action. Apart from a desire to feed the nation, the role of science and value addition in agriculture would be a good starting point.
Although the population has increased significantly, we have failed to embrace modern farming techniques to feed the nation and drive economic prosperity.
Agriculture, the world over, has been a key driver of industrialisation.
Reports show that average Kenyans cannot keep up with the day-to-day expenses. Many households earn less than $2 a day, too little to afford two meals a day and meet other basics such as clothing, healthcare, and education.
The government must address the rising cost of living, which has been exacerbated by heavy taxes on essential commodities and the increased cost of borrowing.
Value addition of our agricultural produce, which would create jobs and increase earnings, has not gotten the right attention, making it one of the missing links to economic prosperity. For instance, tea, one of our main forex earners is exported raw.
Young people graduating from school are left with the only option of migrating to urban areas to look for elusive jobs.
Although agriculture is a devolved function, there are a lot of areas that both the national and county governments must work jointly to help the sector to grow. The transition of what the national government was doing in agriculture to counties was not done well.
Until recently when there are reforms in the sector as a national government initiative, most of our agricultural crops have been on the decline.
The economy has stagnated due to heavy taxation, debt and crowding out of the private sector from productive investments.
The creation of new opportunities at the county level would help to increase our tax base and ease the prevailing burden.