FOOD: The Agriculture sector has been allocated Sh62.7 billion in the 2021/2022 financial year to enhance food production and increase farmers’ income.
In the budget to be read today by National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, the money allocated will finance the departments of crops and research development, livestock, co-operatives and fisheries, aquaculture and blue economy.
Crop Development and Agricultural Research department even though its budget was reduced by 11 per cent to sh44.9 billion still received the highest allocations among all other agriculture departments.
Yatani in the estimates states that the state department of crops and research will spend the cash to strengthen agricultural mechanisation in order to improve productivity and increase farmers’ incomes.
It will also help reduce cost of production through incubation of 150 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on 10 technologies at Agricultural Technology Development Centres (ATDCs).
Yatani says the proposed funds will be used to support establishment and equipping of 15 mechanisation hubs and 30 appropriate technologies will be identified, tested and upscaled by the ATDCs.
To reduce pre and post-harvest losses the CS states that the finances will be deployed through provision of 750 tonnes of Aflasafe, 300 moisture meters, 450 hand shellers and 5,500 hermetic bags.
The funds will also help to control of Fall Army Worm infestation through conducting an average of 30 surveillances per year, distribution of 35,000 litres of pesticides and 500 traps in every financial year.
Further, desert locust surveillance and awareness creation will be enhanced and an early warning system developed in 16 hot spot counties and emergency response given on need basis.
Last month Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said the country is likely to be hit by a third wave of desert locusts owing to poor containment of the same in the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Somalia.
According the budgetary estimates production of the various crops will be given priority by increasing maize production from 44.6 million of 90 kilo bags in 2018 to 50 million bags in 2023/2024 through expansion of area under maize production.