AGRA keen to enhance parliament’s role in Kenya’s food systems

AGRA convened a meeting for Members of Parliament from the Finance, Budget, National Planning, Agriculture and Food Security committees to discuss ways of enhancing the role of Parliament in Kenya’s agri-food systems transformation. The meeting underscored the critical role played by legislators in transforming agri-food systems in Kenya through policy and legal formulation.

The National Assembly’s Chairperson of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee, Dr. John Mutunga stressed the importance of the meeting, saying there’s an urgent need for increased policy interventions in the agricultural sector given it plays a critical role as the economic backbone of most countries in Africa.

“This is a very important meeting for all the key stakeholders because it sets the pace for coming up with policies that will drive the green revolution in Africa,” said Dr. Mutunga.

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Dr. John Macharia, AGRA’s Kenya Country Director, emphasised the significance of involving lawmakers in driving sustainable food systems in Africa.

“This retreat marks a pivotal moment in our collective journey towards inclusive agri-food transformation. Through these parliamentary retreats, AGRA aims to build a strong agency of action and collectivism, promoting parliamentary support for the implementation of national food system pathways and addressing critical areas identified by AFSPaN, including regional legislation for enhanced food trade and markets,” said Dr. Macharia.

The retreat was under the Africa Food Systems Parliamentary Network (AFSPaN), an initiative aimed at mobilising parliamentary support and advancing inclusive agri-food system transformation across the African continent.

The AFSPaN initiative, officially launched at the 19th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Partnership Platform in Lusaka, Zambia, brings together parliamentarians from national, regional, and continental parliamentary bodies, emphasising key committees such as Agriculture, Environment, Food Security, Finance, Budget and Planning, and Trade. The network aims to catalyse change, fostering collaboration between stakeholders to advance the continental agenda for an inclusive agri-food system transformation.

The success of this retreat in Mombasa follows engagements in Ghana and Nigeria, and also sets the stage for future engagements in Malawi. The anticipated outcomes include increased parliamentary support for continental goals, enhanced capacity building, and the creation of a coalition between parliamentarians and non-state actors for more robust national-level advocacy.

AGRA works in collaboration with Care International, ActionAid, Policy Link, ONE Campaign, IFPRI, Akademiya 2063, and Shamba Centre to strengthen the collective impact of the decision-making arm of the government, Parliament, and non-state actors. This collaborative effort is aimed at advocating for food system pathways and utilising outcomes from the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

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