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A comprehensive scoping and assessment study of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) policies in Kenya
30 April 2014
Stephen K. Wambugu


The overall aim of this study was to review the CSA policies in Kenya with a view to assessing their performance. The study also sought to analyze the existing policy frameworks and to offer policy recommendations to ensure that CSA policies are improved in terms of relevance, equity and effectiveness.

The study found out that Kenya has no explicit CSA policies. However, there are a number of national blueprints addressing CC issues in addition to a multiplicity of related bills and policies. These include: NCCRS (2010), NCCAP (2013-2017), Kenya CC Authority Bill (2012), The Kenya Vision 2030, The National Policy for Sustainable Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands (2013), EMCA (1999), Second NEAP (2009-2013), Draft catchment management policy, Draft National Environment Policy 2012, NLP, Energy policy 2004 and Energy Act 2006, Draft Energy Policy 2012, Draft National Water Policy 2012, The irrigation Act Cap 345, NDMP 2012 and the Integrated National Transport policy (INTP) 2010.

The study also identified a number of development and research programs pertinent to CSA. These include inter alia Fisheries Project,NAAIAP, Index based livestock insurance project in northern Kenya, KACCAL Project, Kenya Agricultural Carbon Market Programme, Strengthening capacity for CC Adaptation in Land and Water management Project, Agricultural productivity and climatic change in the arid and semi-arid lands of Ijara, Trans Mara and Tana delta Project, Green houses pilot project under CAADP, Promotion of traditional high value crops, Promotion of livelihood diversification, Research into and dissemination of superior drought, salt, pest and disease resistant crops, Biogas projects, Agro forestry projects and Construction of dams.

A number of institutions and stakeholders are involved in activities related to CSA. These include: MWEMR, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, KARI, NIB, KIPPRA, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Kenya CC Working Group, CARE Kenya, PACJA and KENFAP.

After holding interviews and discussions with key CSA stakeholders in the country the study found out that the effectiveness and impact (especially on gender and social equity) of policies pertinent to CSA face a number of challenges chief among them being: Inadequate funds for rapid expansion of area covered by the activities, Shortage of water to expand area under irrigation, Limited alternative options for livelihood for forest and rangeland communities who suffer most from the impacts of CC; Disease challenges especially after expanding irrigation, Markets for surplus produce, Social issues especially when introducing crop agriculture among pastoralists, Inappropriate technologies for adoption and their high costs especially for small holder farmers, Poor knowledge on CC and CSA; There is Limited understanding on the amount of global funding and opportunities available and how it can be accessed. Currently it is difficult to identify and track the total amount of money coming into Kenya for CC related activities and what activities they are being applied to, Low and slow participation by the private sector, High costs of change into new production systems and technologies, Misconception that CSA is an environmental issue and Cost of Implementation of the laid out policy actions is high (compare cost of adaptation and implementation with the government budgetary allocation).

The study noted a number of interventions that are necessary to enhance CSA policies and activities. These include: Data surveys and analyses to establish the requirements of the target groups in the country and identifying the resulting priority requirements into the CSA policies and activities, Continued research to develop appropriate low cost technologies to address the requirements, Continued capacity building among the target groups and the state actors to ensure the technologies are passed on, Appropriate design and mainstreaming CSA policies and activities in all programmes, Investment in weather information systems and capacity building to strengthen the KMD to enhance disaster preparedness and reliable information synthesis and predictions, Central CC Projects/ activities and provision of funds for employment, tracking, monitoring and impact assessments and communications, Streamlining and designing additional finance mechanisms to support climate smart agriculture, Combine climate adaptation, mitigation measures and sustainable agriculture and food security goals, Improve on monitoring impact measurement, reporting and result demonstration to ensure continuous funding for climate smart agriculture.

The study arrived at the following conclusions and recommendations aimed at enhancing CSA policies and activities in Kenya.

  • Policy makers should harmonize and bring together the various scattered CSA related policies, projects and programmes into one which is comprehensive and accessible by all stakeholders.
  • Governments and policy makers should craft county specific CSA policies that can help farmers cope with the adverse effects of CC. Farmers need policies that remove obstacles to implementing CSA and create synergies with alternative technologies and practices.
  • Apart from (ii) above, governments and policy makers should promote and disseminate policies that promote CSA which integrates food security, CC adaptation and mitigation.
  • Governments and policy makers should also adopt a multi-sectoral approach in drafting CSA policies in order to effectively tackle the impact of CC on food systems and NR management.
  • Governments and policy makers should promote financial incentives that encourage CSA. Considerable policy support and capacity enhancement is needed for climate risk management including insurance and safety nets as well as improved access to weather information adapted to farmers needs.
  • They should also encourage research and dissemination of the best ways of helping farmers reduce GHG emissions and consequently adapt to CC.
  • At the national and county levels, agriculture should be at the centre stage of CC agenda, negotiations and discussions.

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