Policy Implementation: Unlocking the potential of Agricultural Development in Kenya

The Constitution of Kenya, in its Fourth Schedule, provides for the Agricultural policy as a function of the National Government and devolves key components of agriculture including crop and animal husbandry, plant and animal disease control, fisheries and cooperatives. The Constitution affirms the right of every person to be free from hunger and to have food of acceptable quality.

Agriculture forms the basis of food production and significantly contributes to the growth of the national economy. The sector development agenda is stated in government policies and operationalized through the various instruments including legislations, regulations, strategies, plans, projects and programmes. The county and national governments have therefore developed various strategies needed to ensure food and nutrition in the country. However, some critical policy documents including the national agricultural policy have remained a draft document since 2013; while others have remained either partially or not implemented. The government has developed a raft of other instruments including the ambitious Agricultural Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS) 2019 – 2029 and the Big 4 agenda which has a dedicated pillar for food and nutritional security. A policy document is not an end in itself.

‘Policy formulation’ is different from ‘Policy implementation’. While both are important stages in policy development, the latter is normally not given the necessary emphasis, despite being the reason of initiating the entire rigorous and expensive formulation process. Policy implementation is an expensive investment that requires a defined approach, detailed action plan and a budget. It would be important for the implementation method, action plan and budget for every policy instrument to be developed at the formulation stage to avoid the rampant policy inertia in the agriculture sector in the country.

The national and county governments should strengthen the policy formulation and implementation function. Working closely with the private sector and the civil society, the two levels of government should develop and launch harmonized country wide policy implementation process. This would ensure that implementation would not be optional for the willing counties thereby making the policy fall through the gaps and eventually fail to deliver on set objectives.  

AgCK under support by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is implementing a project; that seeks to foster the implementation of the Crops (Irish potato) Regulations 2019 in six counties (Meru, Nyandarua, Nakuru, Narok, Bungoma and Elgeyo Marakwet). During the process, AgCK has developed a generic ‘policy implementation mechanism’ informed by the experience gained during the project. AgCK has shared this experience in various conferences and is willing to share with other sector players to upscale the new practice. For further information, please get in touch with us through the email info@agck.or.ke  

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