Revamped National Horticulture Taskforce gets to work

Mon, Aug 30, 2021

The taskforce will develop an integrated Information Management System that will process all the data collected along the value chain.

Co-chairs of the National Horticulture Taskforce, from left Joshua Oluyali, Head of the MALFC Horticulture Division, State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research and Clement Tulezi, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Flower Council.

The public-private National Horticulture Taskforce (NHT) has been strengthened to enable it to take a more active role in providing an enabling environment and consultative guidance to the horticultural sector in Kenya.

Private-sector members of the taskforce are drawn from various organisations, including the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya), the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), and the Agrochemical Association of Kenya (AAK).

The government presence in the taskforce includes representation from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives (MALFC); the Ministry of Health (Public Health — Food Safety Unit), the State Department for Trade, and the National Treasury. Government agencies include the Horticulture Crops Directorate (HCD), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (PCPB), Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA), and the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB). The Council of Governors is also represented.

Between May and September 2020, COLEACP facilitated consultative meetings of horticulture stakeholders, which resulted in agreement on the need to revamp this taskforce. This followed two earlier multi-stakeholder workshops held in 2019.

The chair is Joshua Oluyali, Head of the MALFC Horticulture Division at the State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research.

Representing the private sector as co-chair is Clement Tulezi, CEO, KFC who said the revamping of the taskforce was an exciting new development that promises to strengthen Kenya’s horticultural sector. “The taskforce will provide an enhanced public-private sector coordination mechanism on strategic and policy issues to adequately address the challenges facing the horticulture industry.”

The taskforce operations are guided by the terms of reference agreed upon by its members in the interest of the stakeholders. Given the importance of horticulture, there are initiatives to have the NHT established under the law within MALFC to give it a legal mandate.

Reliable data

The taskforce intends to develop an integrated Information Management System that will process all the data collected along the value chain, to link with existing systems with relevant information on horticulture. Consequently, the taskforce has created the Data, Information Management, Market Development and Trade Facilitation Committee to guide this process, including engaging with other stakeholders.

This is informed by the fact that the agricultural sector has been characterized by misleading and unreliable data.  For instance, a majority of nutrition and agricultural programmes lack baseline data that could be used to set targets for benchmarking following their implementation. There is no county-specific or national data on food utilization, consumption and the cost of nutritious diets, nor is there data on the nutrition and micronutrient status.

Similarly, data on agricultural products, yields, and prices is scarce and unreliable and most of the existing programme indicators are established only at national level, and data are often only collected at five-year intervals. Moreover, existing data is often not adequately integrated with indicators from other sectors, which has led to conflicting statistics between government departments and with the private sector. The lack of reliable and timely data and information affects sustainable production and consistent supply of horticultural crops.

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