Food Security and Drought Resilience

Project description

Title: Food Security and Drought Resilience in Kenya
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Kenya
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of Kenya
Overall term: 2014 to 2016

Kenya’s agricultural sector is characterised by small-scale farms that mainly produce to meet the requirements of their own individual households. As a result of rapid population growth, the impacts of climate change, and land and water shortages, natural resources are being overexploited and the country’s agricultural and food industries are facing major challenges.

Until mid-2013, the institutional landscape for agricultural development was very fragmented, but it is now undergoing a comprehensive process of reform. Ministerial responsibilities are being consolidated within a new ministry, and at the same time important research and market-regulating organisations are being combined. In addition, responsibility for agricultural development is being transferred to the newly created county (district) governments. The new allocation of mandates and responsibilities, particularly between the national and county levels, has not yet been completed. Key agricultural institutions are currently unable to promote an agricultural structure that can respond to market forces.

Key institutions for agricultural development, particularly at the national level and at the county level in western and northern Kenya, promote sustainable, market-focused agriculture, which contributes to food security.

By strengthening the mandated Kenyan institutions, the programme supports Kenya’s administrative structures in implementing agricultural reform and intensifying agricultural production. These two sectors are the key to greater food security in selected counties and in the Mount Kenya region.

The programme focuses on supporting policy development and implementing national policies at the county level. One of the key elements is providing advisory services and support in carrying out sectoral reform. Additionally, the programme helps clarify roles and responsibilities at both the national and county levels. Within the framework of the new Kenyan constitution, it also promotes communication between the two levels and fosters cooperation with other agricultural policy decision-makers.

Activities in the three west-Kenyan counties of Bungoma, Kanamega and Siaya and also in the counties of Turkana and Marsabit in northern Kenya aim to continue strengthening local governmental structures. The counties are being given the technical expertise they require to plan and implement investments in agricultural infrastructure, including training for future trainers and multipliers. Gender-specific and food-security elements form a key part of this training.

The counties receive advisory services and financial support to implement selected gender-specific measures designed to intensify smallholder production systems on a sustainable basis. These measures should increase food security within the framework of county-level agricultural development planning and enable the counties to take advantage of technology transfer. Possible activities include establishing advisory and training systems that focus on agricultural intensification issues, such as how to increase soil fertility, control erosion, conserve water, erect small-scale irrigation systems and diversify crops. Further activities could help farmers in implementing these practices.

An additional measure helps improve the integration of smallholders into the market, for example through crop diversification, effective storage, better links to potential (wholesale) buyers and strengthening sales cooperatives.

The GFA Consulting Group supports the bilateral programme at national level, especially with regard to policy design and the implementation of decentralisation reforms.

Results achieved so far
By taking advantage of existing structures, the training institutions supported by the programme have already assumed their role as multipliers. In the medium term, national support organisations will be in a position to meet requests for services from other counties.


Paul-Mathias Braun