The Farm Mechanization & Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification project (FACASI); brought together stakeholders from various sectors, to review the National policy on smallholder agriculture mechanization in Kenya. The aim of the workshop was to review existing large and smallholder mechanization related policies in Kenya, to identify policy gaps, constraints, and opportunities, and also assess alternative policy options for a wider use and expansion of smallholder agricultural mechanization in general with a focus on the 2wheel tractor (2WT) based mechanization. The one day workshop was held at Jacaranda Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya.
Background on policy development
In 1992; a research on mechanization was conducted majorly on sugar and wheat farming in western Kenya. From the analysis a draft mechanization policy was developed but was never implemented. To date the country does not have an Agricultural Policy on mechanization/machinery in place. Dr. Pascal Kaumbutho, who was involved in the research at the time, facilitated the National policy workshop through the FACASI project as the Project Leader. FACASI, a project sponsored by the Australian Agricultural Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT); has an overall goal to improve access to mechanization, reduce labour drudgery, and minimize biomass trade-offs in Eastern and Southern Africa, through accelerated delivery and adoption of two-wheel tractor (2WT) -based technologies by smallholders. The project is being implemented in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Kenya. In Kenya, the project is implemented by the Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (KENDAT) where it targets to address the needs of the smallholder mechanization, with success cases to report particularly in Laikipia and Bungoma Counties.
The workshop provided a forum for over 20 key individual and organizational agricultural mechanization players to make contributions and proposals towards the upcoming Kenya Mechanization Policy dialogue. Participants included researchers, funders, managers and policymakers.
The format of the meeting placed an emphasis on sharing the expertise and perspectives of all participants and involved presentations, breakout groups, debates and networking.
Key note presentations were made by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, ACIAR, the CEO – KENDAT, group CEO – Brazafric Ltd; an Enterprise that imports and distributes agricultural and energy conservation equipment from Brazil to East Africa, and a gender consultant who tackled mechanization adoption and change.
Workshop conclusions on mechanization in Kenya; A Way Forward
There is need for:
- Political goodwill for implementation of the policy. National and County Governments need to invest resources to drive the policy formulation process.
- Strategy formulation for implementation of the policy once approved by the Government. This calls for a wide stakeholder engagement and approval.
- Awareness and sensitization to farmers and service providers who are central to implementation.
- Supportive Financing: Government to work with private sector for structured financing especially for the youth and women who are less empowered.
- Government to facilitate private – public partnership to create linkages between academia/research with development partners and practice.
The following actions were recommended;
- Outcome dissemination of the workshop to all stakeholders involved in agricultural mechanization in Kenya,
- Provide further inputs and ideas to the draft government policy document regarding the gender dynamics of mechanization,
- Promote/support NGO and Civil Society participation in regional workshops that will be held across Kenya,
- Information and suggestions on the draft policy document can be forwarded to the government: government website – www.kilimo.go.ke and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click below to read the workshop report