The Agriculture Sector Reforms began in 2003 with the formulation of the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERS) and the Strategy for Revitalization of Agriculture (SRA). The Sector reforms were aimed at reviewing, updating and harmonizing the legal framework that would rationalize multiple legislation and regulations governing the sector.
Prior to the current reforms, the sector had in excess of 130 laws that made the sector uncompetitive, inefficient and too bureaucratic for a conducive business environment. It was also envisaged that these reforms would make the sector regionally and globally competitive through the overall reduction of cost of production and increased efficiency in service delivery.
The merger process commenced with consolidation of the agricultural sector legislations which culminated into the enactment of three key laws namely
- Agriculture Fisheries and Food Authority Act, 2013.
- The Crops Act,
- The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Act, 2013
The AFFA Act, 2013 came into effect on the 17th January 2014. The Act consolidates the laws on the regulation and promotion of Agriculture and makes provision for the respective roles of the national and county governments in agriculture and related matters, in line with the provisions of the fourth schedule of the constitution of Kenya. The Act also makes provisions for the establishment of the Agriculture Fisheries and Food Authority, which is the successor to the institutions existing before the commencement of AFFA Act and Crops Act.
To oversee the smooth transition of the affected institutions into AFFA and prepare ground for commencement of the Crops Act, the Cabinet Secretary gazetted an Interim Management Committee (IMC) on 28th of February 2014.
THE CROPS ACT, 2013
In addition, the Cabinet Secretary gazetted ‘1st August 2014’ as the commencement date of the Crops Act, 2013 (vide a gazette notice no.110 dated 1st August 2014).
The Crops Act 2013 repealed the following priory existing statutes;
- Agriculture Produce Marketing Act (Cap 320
- Canning Crops Act (Cap 328)
- Cereals and Sugar Finance Corporation (Cap 329)
- Coconut Industry Act (Cap 331)
- Cotton Act (Cap 335)
- Pyrethrum Act (Cap 340)
- Sisal Industry Act (Cap 341)
- Tea Act (Cap 343)
- Coffee Act (No 9 of 2001)
- Sugar Act (No 10 of 2001)
As a result all the institutions earlier established under the repealed laws ceased to exist. These are:
- Kenya Sugar Board
- Tea Board of Kenya
- Coffee Board of Kenya
- Horticultural Crops Development Authority
- Pyrethrum Board of Kenya
- Sisal Board of Kenya
- Cotton Development Authority
- Kenya Coconut Development Authority
Following the commencement of the Crops Act, 2013 the above listed former institutions became Directorates of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA). These are:
- Coffee Directorate
- Tea Directorate
- Sugar Directorate
- Horticultural Crops Directorate
- Fiber Crops Directorate
- Nuts and Oil Crops Directorate
- Pyrethrum and Other Industrial Crops Directorate
- Food Directorate
In accordance with the Transitional Provisions of the AFFA Act, 2013 and Crops Act, 2013 all the funds, assets, liabilities and rights which were vested in the former institutions now rest in the Authority.
Besides the Directorates, the Crops Act, 2013, under article 9 (1) established a Commodities Fund to provide sustainable and affordable credit and advances to farmers for farm improvement; farm inputs; farming operations; price stabilization; and any other lawful purpose approved by the Authority.
The Fund is the successor of Coffee Development Fund and Sugar Development Fund (which was part of Kenya Sugar Board). Coffee Development Fund and Kenya Sugar Board were among the Agriculture Sector institutions that ceased to be, following coming to effect of Crops Act, 2013.
BENEFITS OF THE SECTOR REFORMS
These sector reforms, which culminated into the AFFA Act, 2013 and the Crops Act, 2013 aims at accelerating the growth and development of agriculture in general.
These reforms, together with the regulations for each sub-sector, now provide an enabling legal and regulatory environment for both local and foreign investors to venture in production, processing, marketing, and distribution of crops in all parts of the country and beyond, through:
- Reduced regulatory bureaucracy, and over-regulation of the crops subsector;
- Greater efficiency in service delivery, resulting from enhanced synergies, and faster decision making processes.
- Reduced costs running the previous institutions through centralized operations.
- Rationalized taxation through reduction of levies, taxes and other barriers, in order to facilitate free movement of crop products;
- Reduced duplication and overlap of functions among institutions previously involved in the regulation of crop agriculture;
- Separation of functions of the national and county governments in crop regulation, development and promotion, in order to attract private sector investment in crops subsector;
- Competitive crops subsector through reduction in cost of production, diversification and market outlets;
- Creation of the Commodities Fund to provide sustainable and affordable credit and advances to farmers for farm improvement, farm inputs and price stabilization;
- Regulation of all food crops which were hitherto, unregulated
- Increased food security in the country as a result of centralized planning
- Creating an enabling environment for private sector to invest in crop development, processing and marketing
Our Crops, Our wealth