What is Agriculture Sector Transformation Growth and Strategy (ASTGS?)

These are agricultural reforms to transform the country’s agriculture sector which is pillar III in improving food and nutritional security and ensuring availability of affordable food to vulnerable Kenyans.

How does the transformation affect NCPB restructuring and SFR?

NCPB is playing a central role in implementing government policy on food security through maintenance of the national food reserves and in the implementation of market interventions aimed at providing farmers with a market outlet and cushioning consumers from high maize prices. The transformation of NCPB and the restructuring of SFR will promote agricultural marketing in the country by entrenching the Warehouse Receipting System (WRS) and Commodity Exchange programmes and implementing the food balance sheet.

What is the impact of the reforms?

The reforms will see two divisions formed; the National Food Reserve (NFR) and NCPB Trading Division (NTD). To separate the National Food Reserve functions from the commercial ventures, NCPB is restructured to create the NCPB Trading Division (NTD). NTD will operate unencumbered commercial agricultural hub model, clustering registered small-medium holder farmers and agro-dealers around aggregation centers (cooperatives or warehouses) for storage, bulk inputs sourcing, marketing and extension support. Going forward NTD will compete for opportunities on value and price alongside other market players in Kenya. The transformed NCPB will build and implement service delivery systems that will not only ensure efficiency, quality, speed, convenience, and dignity in service delivery but also compete effectively both locally and internationally. Infrastructure upgrade will be required; both physical and technological to support the intended reforms.

What Is an Agricultural Hub?

An Agricultural Hub is a central point where farmers can access quality seedlings, farm machinery, postharvest handling equipment, marketing information, linkages with buyers and advise on crop husbandry. It is a one-stop shop for the agricultural needs of the farmers. This concept stemmed from the need to address challenges faced by small scale farmers in many countries in accessing advice on farming, affordable inputs, markets and other services required for successful agriculture. This could be due to the fact that they are far away in the country side where such services and farm inputs do not reach.

How Does an Agricultural Hub Model Work?

a) The model can be initiated by government in partnership with private sector players or can be initiated solely by development partners.

b) The Hubs are normally owned by rural entrepreneurs, agribusiness suppliers or farmers’ cooperatives.

c) The hubs are normally close to farming zones and transport infrastructure but normally far from formal markets.

d) It serves a cluster/group of farmers, say 200 farmers, who are then linked to a number of buyers via the hub. The buyers include agro processors, large traders, and supermarkets. Thus, the hub may also be an aggregation centre for produce which is then sorted, graded, weighed and packaged for collection by the buyers.

e) The hub provides services which include advisory services, linkages to intermediaries, leasing out of farm machinery, storage services, selling of farm inputs including seeds, fertilizer and agro-chemicals. The advisory services are free while the other services and products are paid for by the farmers, but they are charged a small fee.

What are the benefits of Agricultural Hubs?

  • i. Greatly facilitates the production and collection of quality crops from disadvantaged areas.
  • It also improves compliance with quality standards. iii. Easy access to markets for farmers.
  • Power to bargain for better prices.
  • Access to cheaper farm inputs and mechanization services.
  • Increase in farm yields and income for the small-scale farmers while buyers benefit from product aggregation and reliable supply.

What will be the transformation effect in NCPB structure, additional mandate and FBS?

The transformation will affect NCPB structure, thus will require structuring, change and realignment to the policy framework, incorporation of SFR to accommodate the food balance sheet. In addition, it will require the current Act of Parliament Cap 338 of 1985 amendment or review to accommodate the additional mandate.

What is NFR?

Food Reserves (FR) are food stocks held by a public entity and are considered food products with nutrients that render them important for food and nutrition security. The public entity that holds the FR can be national (hence NFR) but can also be local, regional or (theoretically) international. There are different ways to use FR to improve food and nutrition security of a country such as:

  1. To fight against chronic food and nutrition insecurity by providing poor households with permanent food transfers;
  2. To manage food crises either by providing emergency transfers to food insecure households, or by mitigating food price increases;
  3. FR procurement can be used to provide incentives to food producers, thereby in the long run, contributing to food and nutrition security.

What is the role of NFR?

The roles of NFR include: –

a) Maintaining a Strategic Food Reserve (SFR);

b) Facilitating market intelligence and price monitoring;

c) Plays an advisory role on food production and incentives system

d) Administration of the Strategic Food Reserve Fund (SFRF) as established under CAP 338 5(2)

How will the reforms affect NCPB staff?

The reforms and restructuring agenda for NCPB calls for, among other issues, general and substantive suitability of officers who will serve in the new reformed organization. The suitability will be based on integrity, competence and adaptability considerations. Overally, staff will be expected to adopt a new culture and conform to a new way of doing business. The reforms are expected to transform the operations of the Board and usher in fresh business-mindsets and impetus to doing business in a customer focused and customer-centric way

What is the Food Balance Sheet (FBS)?

A food balance sheet is a comprehensive compilation of a selected country’s food supply during a specific time period. It shows the food items for human consumption, along with how it is produced, used, distributed, and how it benefits the society (per capita supply). The food balance sheet covers production, trade, feed and seed, waste, other utilization, availability, quantities, calories, proteins, and fats. By combining these elements, one is able to detect the food security of a country, how reliant it is on imported crops/foodstuffs, and how it contributes to world exports.