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Kenya’s falling crop yield blamed on misplaced priorities

By Moses Omusolo
A farmer looks at his failed crops in Bondo. [File, Standard]

The World Bank has blamed Kenya’s declining food production on poor disease control and low access to finance.

The global lender said the country is doing poorly in protecting plant health and providing agricultural finance, hindering meaningful agricultural production.

It said in its Enabling the Business of Agriculture Report that Kenya is also still far from unlocking the agricultural value chain due to poor regulation.

“Across all indicators covered… the most efficient regulatory processes are shown in the areas of registering machinery and trading food. In contrast, regulations on seed, fertiliser, and finance are the weakest,” said the report.

Further, the study found only a few countries had implemented reforms aimed at boosting plant and animal productivity. 

“Between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018, 47 out of 101 countries in the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (report) implemented 67 regulatory reforms,” said the report

As a result, the World Bank noted, Kenya and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa lags behind the rest of the world on all indicators that support crop productivity as well as agribusiness.

The study, covering over 100 countries provides data on up to eight indicators.

These include supplying seed, registering fertiliser as well as securing water.

Other indicators are registering machinery, sustaining livestock, protecting plant health, trading food and accessing finance.

“Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa face the toughest bureaucratic challenges. The largest regulatory and efficiency gaps are observed on the registering fertiliser (73 percentage points), protecting plant health (64 percentage points) and sustaining livestock (59 percentage points).”

 

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