GOVERNORS, SENATE AGREE ON POLICIES TO IMPROVE ON AGRICULTURE

GOVERNORS, SENATE AGREE ON POLICIES TO IMPROVE ON AGRICULTURE

The Council of Governors and the Senate have resolved to make reviews of all policies in the agriculture sector in order to ensure conformity to the Constitution and further make the sector productive.

The CoG and the leadership of the Senate standing committee on Agriculture and Fisheries made and approved up to 21 resolutions that are geared at ensuring that policies are in tandem with the constitution.

Also, the recommendations seek to further strengthen the agriculture sector by ensuring that functions that are devolved are run and managed by county governments and that funds for the same functions are given to the devolved units.

CoG’s chair Wicliff Oparanya, chair of Council’s Agriculture Committee, Muthomi Njuki and Njeru Ndwiga, the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, read out a raft of resolutions at the sidelines of a Governor’s Council meeting in Mombasa.

Already, Uasin Gishu County has run programs that make some of the clauses in the resolutions.

Governor Jackson Mandago’s government has blazed the trail, with Moisoy Milling project and revamping of the dairy industry through the installation of milk coolers, Operation Lita Kumi as running programs aimed at helping farmers in marketing produce.

The resolutions are as follows.

1. THAT the Council of Governors and the Senate shall undertake a legal review of all laws in the agriculture sector to ensure conformity with the Constitution. Henceforth, the Senate shall not consider any Bills concerning county governments developed without proper and meaningful consultation and involvement of County Governments.

2. THAT we shall initiate a legislative review within 6 months of all the laws in the sector enacted prior to the promulgation of the Constitution with a view to amend or repeal some of the laws that create National Government parastatals which are undertaking devolved functions.

3. THAT County Governments shall allocate at least 10% of their annual budget to undertake the implementation of the agricultural functions in the counties.

4. THAT no National Budget shall be passed without at least 10% of the allocation to the agriculture sector.

5. THAT the Council of Governors hereby notifies Development Partners that programs and projects that are not discussed and agreed upon with the Counties will not be implemented in any county. All the Development Partners therefore must directly involve the County Governments through the Council of Governors in the development and implementation of any agricultural-related programs and projects in the counties.

6. THAT we shall engage in a National Dialogue with the National Government, Parliament and Kenyans to discuss challenges facing the sector and provide solutions.

7. THAT the Senate shall summon the Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture to elaborate the policy framework that is being applied to undertake the ongoing agricultural reforms by the Ministry.

8. THAT we hereby declare a dispute on the understanding and interpretation of the devolved functions between the two levels of Government. We shall therefore take the necessary action to explore alternative dispute resolution and if need be we shall take legal action.

9. THAT we shall engage the National Government to ensure that resources for devolved functions are transferred to County Governments and not included as a vote in the Ministry of Agriculture budget.

10. THAT we propose that the 2013 Report of the Presidential Taskforce on Parastatal Reforms (the Abdikadir taskforce report) be presented to the President and released for immediate implementation.

11. THAT we shall engage the National Government to ensure that they invest in research and development in the agriculture sector as this is their primary mandate. This will support Counties with relevant research findings to use in implementing their functions and by that, transform the sector and the economy.

12. THAT the National Government shall ensure that County Governments are engaged through the Office of the Governor and the Council of Governors to ensure proper consultation during the development of policies and legislation on devolved functions.

13. THAT we shall engage the Ministry of Agriculture, Presidential Task Force on coffee reforms and Parliament to review the implementation of the Coffee General Regulations 2019 and the Coffee Exchange Regulations 2020 to start its commencement on 1st November 2020 as opposed to 1st July 2021.

14. THAT with immediate effect, the Ministry of Agriculture and Capital Markets Authority shall ensure that the requirement of the one million US Dollar bank guarantee is no longer a requirement to the farmers in coffee trading their coffee.

15. THATCoffee growing Counties shall continue to support their farmers to increase their productivity as they push to increase the yield to the farmers.

16. THAT County Governments shall assist farmers to undertake direct marketing of farm produces effective 1st November 2020.

17. THAT the Senate Standing committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries together with the Council of Governors jointly reject in total the gazettement of Sugar and Tea regulations for lack of compliance with the Constitution.

18. THAT we have resolved to reject over legislation in the agriculture sector.

19. THAT we shall have thematic conferences to address challenges in the various sub-sectors in agriculture including but not limited to livestock, crops and fisheries.

20. That the Council of Governors and the senate commit to fighting the cartels in the agriculture sector

21. THAT Senate shall work closely with the Council of Governors and will continue to defend Counties objectively while exercising its oversight role without compromise.

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