In the realm of National Food Production and Safety, policy reforms play a vital role, and Kenya, with its robust agricultural heritage, is embracing change through comprehensive legislation.
The Nuts and Oils Crops Development Bill of 2023 as it seems is designed to transform the sector into a profitable, sustainable, and development-oriented activity for the benefit of all stakeholders. The proposed strategies for enhancing profitability include the introduction of better varieties with higher yields, the promotion of value addition, continuous and sustained research, extension services, the adoption of modern farming techniques for nuts and oil crops, and the overall modernization and implementation of effective marketing strategies.
While the bill emphasizes research, it is crucial to recognize the need for disseminating information to drive the desired changes. The legislation strongly advocates for the board to collect, collate, and disseminate information on the nut and oil crop industry, incorporating appropriate technology and practices to maximize yields by farmers. However, I believe partnerships with FFOs play a crucial role in achieving these actions. The Private sector has historically made significant contributions towards implementation by providing research manpower, technologies for information dissemination, extension services, and avenues for marketing.
FSPN Africa is an interested party as the bill directly affects our operations and services to over 50,000 smallholder farmers in the groundnut 🥜 value chain in Kenya , extensively advocating for full adoption of digital tools like The Shamba Calendar for flexible information dissemination and access to profitable market opportunities.
The bill grants counties the authority to license nuts and oil processors, stating that no individual or entity can engage in the business of nuts and oil crop grower, nursery operator, cooperative society, or association without being registered by the respective county government.
If enacted, priority MUST be given to information dissemination to help farmers comprehend the changes in the policy environment and understand how they can contribute to research for their benefit. This approach aims to stimulate increased production of nuts and oil crops, promote primary processing, and encourage the organization of farmers into cooperatives and associations. By aggregating harvests, farmers gain potential access to and exploit credit and financing schemes.
Acknowledging the fact that the inception of policies as laws often impact small-scale farmers, there is a need for consideration and the enhancement of streamlined, simple procedures that are articulated well for easy adoption, avoiding any perception of punishment. Key issues in production, processing, quality assurance, storage, and distribution if well addressed, lays the groundwork for a more sustainable, efficient, and globally competitive livestock, nuts, and oil sector.
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