Agriculture: the path to achieving the Big Four Agenda

By Tengetile Mphila

The agriculture sector plays a vital role in the Kenyan economy. It accounts for 65 per cent of the export earnings, and provides the livelihood (employment, income and food security needs) for more than 80 per cent of the Kenyan population and contributes to improving nutrition through production of safe, diverse and nutrient dense foods. Agriculture is therefore the solution to achieving President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.

About the Big Four Agenda

Announced by the President on 12 December 2017, the four pillars of the big four agenda are the expansion of manufacturing industry, affordable housing, food security and affordable health care. These are meant to ensure that Kenyans secure employment and improve their livelihoods.

The expansion of the manufacturing industry is meant to increase job creation as well as the production of better goods which will in turn boost the economy. More focus is on the blue economy, agro-processing, leather and textile industries. The reduction of the cost of mortgages, raising low cost funds in both private and public for investment in large scale house construction and cutting the cost of construction by use of innovative ways and materials these are meant to help achieve affordable housing. The president through the affordable health care pillar intends to provide 100% universal health cover such that by 2022 every Kenyan will have medical cover. To achieve food security, the cost of food will be reduced, large scale commercial farming will be encouraged, small holder productivity will also be boosted, training of SMEs in food processing along the value chain and many other ways to ensure that all come to fruition.

Agriculture touches on three of the pillars of the Big Four Agenda. Since the agriculture sector is fully devolved in Kenya, this will help in ensuring that all the counties fully participate in realizing the President’s agenda. Hence, in order to achieve the Big Four, there should be more focus on agriculture. More investments need to be dedicated to agriculture. This can be done by supporting agribusinesses and opening avenues for youth to fully participate in agriculture for the sustainability of the sector. Supporting the sector will mean that the health pillar will benefit and food security will be attained. In order to have the manufacturing industry perform well, the workers should be in a healthy state so that they can be productive. Agriculture should therefore be at the forefront of the President’s Big Four Agenda.

Photo Credit: KARLO