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Reforms set to make farming a business

Farmers will realise a big harvest if Parliament endorses reforms that seek to make agriculture a lucrative investment.

The reforms now being refined by the eleven-member House Departmental Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives before debate by Parliament later this month — seek to turn farming into a well-paying, globally competitive occupation that is attractive to the youth.

The proposals are contained in four Bills – The Agriculture, Livestock and Food Authority (ALFA) 2012; The Fisheries Bill 2012; The Livestock Bill 2012; The Crops Bill 2012; and the Kenya Agricultural Research Organisation Bill 2012 are drafted by the Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit (ASCU) to propel the legal and regulatory reforms.

The move comes barely a month after President Kibaki said Kenya’s farming should be modernised and made professional, in order to compete favourably globally. Farming, he said, should be the key driver of Vision 2030. It should be a business, he noted.

Paramilitary force

The reforms are set to cripple middlemen whose role will now be regulated by the new laws that make it more stringent to deal in key crops — maize, sugar, coffee, tea and pyrethrum.

Also, the possibility of arming the sector is in the offing. The House committee on agriculture is considering having a paramilitary force akin to the anti- poaching anti-stock theft units to deal with rampant theft of crops, like it has been happening in the coffee sector.

In the proposed law, farmers, including the small-scale shall register with cooperatives, associations, public companies and/or out-grower schemes.

November 16  2012

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