More than 400 high level agriculture sector leaders are set for a first-of-its-kind gathering in Kenya as industry players look at innovative ways of invigorating agricultural growth and bolstering commitments at leaving no one behind across the value chain. The two-day workshop dubbed National Agriculture Summit to be held on 26 and 27 February 2020 at Safari Park Hotel is a joint effort of the Ministry of Agriculture, the private sector and various international development agencies It will congregate representatives from national and county governments, farmer organizations, research institutions, NGOs and development partners. It comes in the wake of mounting challenges ranging from weak value chain linkages that have taken a toll on food producers to conflicting policies that have put brakes on the agriculture transformation agenda. “The power of collaboration especially in a sector so crucial for millions of households and the economy cannot be gainsaid. It is easier to bolster our commitments if we speak in one voice as an industry and that is why this conference is timely. We want to expedite our commitments to the sector and we can only achieve this through partnership,” said Lee Karuri Kepsa Foundation Chairman. Now industry players are focusing their attention on amplifying one sectoral voice guided by a connected farmer’s first approach. The Summit will also see the launch of The National Private sector led Agriculture apex body that draws its membership from government, private sector and development bodies and unveiling its 3-year road map. The mandate of the secretariat will be to provide a unified approach to tackling some of the challenges the sector faces while exploring the scope for scaling up sustainable innovations to make an impact on a larger scale. “As agriculture continues to play a pivotal role to the bulk of the population and to propel the country’s economic growth, we need united, innovative and proactive approaches that address all issues across the value chain while coordinating interventions from government, the private sector, farmer organizations and development partners. The idea is to make sure that we are speaking in one voice for the good of the industry and leaving no one behind,” said Dr. Bimal Kantaria the co-Chair of the National Private Sector led Agriculture Sector Apex body.
The Summit themed ‘Building Partnerships for the Transformation, Growth and competitiveness of the Agriculture Sector in Kenya, will also see the unveiling of an agricultural transformation road map that over the next 3 years will define challenges and actual interventions for all the value chains. The government will also present the Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy. Key thematic areas of discussion at the conference include unpacking challenges and opportunities in the agriculture sector of Kenya, building synergy to address these challenges, financing options for agribusiness enterprises and the promise of devolution and its impact on agriculture in the last eight years among others.
The summit is timely coming as the world ushers in the last the last decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and Kenya looks to 2020 to achieve the Big Four Agenda in which food security remains an anchor target. Based on this, the gathering will seek to drive the conversation around the role of industry players in not only ensuring that these goals are met but also in collaborating with other stakeholders to take deliberate steps in achieving these goals. “This summit is historic considering it is the first time we are doing this. It is a culmination of a number of stakeholder engagements since 2019. We hope that by the end of the summit, we will have come up with a unique way of identifying the major challenges affecting the sector and have a structured way of addressing them while instituting mechanisms that will strengthen the new partnership complete with metrics to measure commitment and progress. Time is ripe for us to transform the agriculture sector,” said Dr. Kantaria.