Counties

CoG blames lack of laws, poor funding for rising food prices

Attendants at a Tuskys outlet in Mombasa. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI
Attendants at a Tuskys outlet in Mombasa. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI 

Governors on Monday blamed the lack of laws and poor funding of devolved agriculture functions by the national government for the soaring food prices.

The Council of Governors (CoG) further accused the national government of laxity and failure to heed early warnings on drought, resulting in the current food crisis.

CoG chairman Josphat Nanok said while agriculture was a fully devolved function, the national government had in the past four years, stalled the process of releasing key functions, and at times, clawed back some.

This, the Turkana governor said, has clipped the hands of county chiefs in developing projects to improve the sector.

Some of the functions that the national government still clings onto include management of silos and grain store, procurement and distribution of subsidised fertiliser and seed, Mr Nanok said.

“The national agencies, departments and parastatals continue to frustrate county efforts in developing the agricultural sector. Among the key legislation include the Crops Act, AFA Act, National Cereal and Produce Board Act,” he said in a statement.

He added: “The development of legislative frameworks to guide the agricultural sector does not recognise counties as the key drivers of the agriculture development.”

Both levels of governments have been protracted in a push and pull over the management of the sector with the national government accusing the counties of failing to implement projects to mitigate the skyrocketing food prices.

Under the Constitution, the national government is mandated with developing policies to manage agricultural sector while counties implement them.

The two levels of government have also been embroiled in a tussle over the purchase and distribution of the subsidised fertiliser with counties accusing the national government of hijacking the process. 

Mr Nanok Monday accused the national government of starving counties of resources to fully implement the function by declining to restructure its agencies, which were performing county functions.

“Ensuring there is enough maize in the country whether exported or locally produced is the mandate of the national government through the National Cereals and Produce Board,” he said.