By Francis Mwema, January 12, 2023, The Agricultural sector will reap big in this year’s financial budget after the government highlighted five sectors which will have a higher budgetary allocation. This is in an effort by the national government to maximize on production and help in revitalizing the economy which has been dwindling owing to adverse effects of climate change, the covid 19 pandemic and the the Russia and Ukraine war.
The Principal Secretary in the ministry of treasury Chris Kiptoo who graced the opening of the public hearing and participation towards the 2023/24 financial year at Kenyatta International Convention centre reiterated that five sectors which include, Agriculture, health, Micro, small and medium enterprises and digital highway will receive a higher allocation than the rest.
Kiptoo further said the government is keen on supporting Agricultural Productivity through enhancing food security and crop diversification, national value chain support, Crops and livestock industry revitalization, agricultural insurance program and Agricultural market access and value addition.
During the 2022/2023 financial year budget, the ministry of Agriculture received aside Sh46 billion despite the sector contributing 25 per cent of Kenya’s Gross domestic product (GDP).
It was a cutback from the 2021 year’s allocation of Sh60 billion, raising concerns as 70 per cent of Kenya’s population relies on the sector for survival.
In the 2022/23 budget, a paltry 1.39 per cent was allocated to agriculture despite the Kenyan government being a signatory to the Maputo Declaration committing to allocate at least 10 per cent of its budget to agriculture.
Meanwhile, this year’s financial budget has elicited reactions from stakeholders in the economic sector. Institute of certified public accountants of Kenya Director Hillary Onami welcome the move by the current administration to have an increase of budget in the sector saying it will greatly impact the lives of many Kenyans and will help achieve food security.
In the meantime, the government affirmed that it will reduce non-priority expenditures such as domestic and foreign travels, communication, printing, training, hospitality, fuel, purchase of furniture and motor vehicles, refurbishments, and routine maintenance.
The move is meant to restrict growth in recurrent spending by cutting down on non-priority expenditures.
In the last three years, the agricultural sector suffered after the prolonged drought hit the nation due to the adverse effects of covid-19. Although the then government initiated plans of cushioning farmers, the nation suffered famine with insufficient rains hitting the country.