17 November 2008

Planting the seeds of subsidies in Kenyan farms

By JUSTUS ONDARI Posted Monday, November 17 2008 at 18:06

If you can’t beat them, join them. That seems to be the government’s newest mantra as it tries to tackle food insecurity in the country amidst runaway prices in the face of a dilapidating global food shortage. Determined to improve the country’s food productivity, the government has began offering a form of subsidy to its farmers. This is despite the controversy surrounding the subsidies at the seemingly never-ending World Trade Organisation negotiations.

Big differences have characterised the WTO talks over the subsidies as developed nations, which coincidentally heavily subsidise their farmers, try to stop their developing counterparts from implementing such schemes. But under the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Programme, the government began rolling out a targeted or smart subsidy scheme dubbed Kilimo Plus last year. “We are closely monitoring the programme’s implementation besides training the beneficiaries at no cost,” says Dr Romano Kiome, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture.

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