The cabinet secretary for finance Ukur Yatani on Thursday presented
the 2020/2021budget, which saw the counties and the Big Four Agenda receiving a
huge percentage share.
The reading comes at the time when the country is battling
the novel Corona virus, a global pandemic, which has shaken different economies
across the world.
Members of Parliament lead by Wajir East Rashid Kassim remarked
the allocation of Kshs. 3billion to the agriculture sector to subsidize farm
inputs and Ksh1.5 billion for horticulture.
The CS further ordered the principal secretaries and
accounting officers to clear the pending bills.
State agencies and corporations accumulating bills will
further experience delayed disbursement of funds until they clear the bills.
“The only smile in this budget on the farmer is the
clearing of bills as said by the minister. The corporations have been delaying farmers’
payments not once or twice not knowing their needs. We hope the National Cereals
and Produce Board (NCPB) will consider the allocation, though it is quite low.
” Said Yego Joseph a large scale farmer in Cherangany.
Farmers in North Rift have always engaged in a war of tag
with NCPB over payments.
Early this year a number of counties were invaded by desert
locusts posing danger to the country’s food security.
“The locust invasion in the country is one major hit to
food security. An invasion in the region where we are considered the country’s
food basket is a clear indication of a looming food shortage and hunger in the
country. The ministry of agriculture has been avoiding this issue. We are not
sure whether the allocated amount will compensate for the loss or help the
farmers revive the sector,” complained Yego.
He added that, “Some farmers have already counted
losses after heavy rains experienced in the region, as flood water sweep away farm
inputs during the planting season. It’s not clear hat the budget allocation for
the agricultural sector is going to make a farmer anywhere in Trans Nzoia county
to celebrate about.”
The country has been grappling with the coronavirus pandemic,
desert locusts and the ongoing flood situations across various parts, as people
displaced, properties destroyed and infrastructure tampered with making the
transportation of farm produce and inputs difficult.
“The rains were not uniform at first and the process of
planting was not done at the same time. The farm fertilizers were inaccessible
and very expensive over shortage. This was even made worse after the closure of
borders following government directives to curb Covid-19. They should have
considered that farmers are paying a huge price in running the country’s
economy,” explained Mr. Yego.
The 2020/21 budget as presented by the CS, is generated
through slow recovery of the economy, coupled with job sustenance, lives and
livelihood of Kenyans as well as cushioning the vulnerable in the society.