Green Alliance Africa

Challenges in agriculture sector surmountable

 

These post- harvest challenges range from the simple to complex. The hardest hit by these are small-scale farmers who in some instances lose entire harvests to weevils, Aflotoxin challenges, et al.Both classes of farmers have in the past reported heavy losses due to poor state of rural, urban and semi urban roads. Wherever emergencies occur, like is the case during rainy season like now, farmers are unable to get their produce to the market, leading to waste and huge losses. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, legislation does exist to mitigate the bottlenecks.

In the case of infrastructure, this country has the Road Maintenance Levy Fund (RMLF) Act, legislated in 1993. The Act hereinabove contemplates establishment of Special Purpose Roads, which have currently been classified to include roads falling within national parks, game reserves and security roads. The roads are managed by Government agencies such as Kenya Wildlife Service and the Forest department. KWS as a department has been allocated 1 per cent of the fund to maintain road network within National parks and reserves. It’s rightfully said that agriculture is the backbone of the economy. Would it not be prudent to allocate say 15 per cent of this fuel levy for special agricultural roads in all counties countrywide?

China’s growth

The Agri Business Strategy Paper cites interventions in China, Vietnam, Georgia and Madagascar, where improvement in rural roads network improved food production.

 It has been observed that China’s remarkable annual economic growth rate of 9.5 per cent reported in the 1980s and 1990s was preceded by rural and agricultural policy reforms in the late 1970 and early 1980. The report says an appropriate policy provides a firm foundation to agricultural sector development especially where the policy is associated with public funding of basic infrastructure and services. In Brazil, a programme of infrastructural development was designed to improve the movement of goods to the market. This inter alia included the privatization and upgrading of their infrastructure.

According to the Vision 2030 Initiative, agriculture is supposed to contribute 10 per cent of Kenya’s GDP.

At the current rate, this may not be tenable because the sector does not seem to get the due attention it deserves. In the past, politicians have converted this ministry into a political toy of sorts. The end result has been incessant food shortages, fertilizer supply challenges and unmitigated losses triggered by avoidable circumstances. Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture initiated a taskforce that developed the National Agri-Business Strategy. The strategy seeks to remove barriers and create incentives for the private sector to invest in agri-business and related fields. It also seeks to underwrite the growth of the agricultural industry by investing public resources more strategically, make the industry more competitive, dynamic and easily adaptable to the market.

 

Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)

By adopting sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices there is an opportunity for countries to improve the eco-efficiency of economic growth. Given that there are limits to the capacity of the Earth’s ecosystems to absorb pollution and provide natural resources, the only way to maintain economic progress in the long term without approaching these limits is to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. In practical terms this means getting more from less; including more efficient and profitable production, using less raw materials, bringing competitive advantage; more value added to a product, with less pollution and waste in the process; and more consumer needs fulfilled, with less energy, water or waste.
The major innovation and strength of SCP is to provide a holistic perspective that integrates the whole life cycle of products and services, combines production and consumption related practices, covers the triple bottom line of economic, environmental and social aspects, follow an interdisciplinary perspective and offers a framework for a consistent policy approach. The role of the public sector is to create a conducive environment for more investments necessary to provide for sustainable consumption choices.