Together with Agriterra’s Lobby & Advocacy expert Noah Ngetich, Kenya National Farmers Federation (KENAFF) with other key stakeholders managed to convince the government of Kenya to waive import duties on maize and soy to make animal feed cheaper. No small feat, as Ngetich explains.
KENAFF has been a partner of Agriterra in Kenya since 2011. However, in 2015, KENAFF experienced an exodus of development partners which set back the organisation significantly. Since 2018 the organisation was given renewed energy with a new manager, a new board and support from AHA International and GIZ. It was the feedback from AHA on their work with KENAFF which led Agriterra to reconnect with the institution. After an assessment in 2022, Agriterra identified a spot that needed to be strengthened: KENAFF faced issues with liquidity. As a first step, Agriterra co-financed some branding and promotion activities to position KENAFF and generate interest and traction in the organisation.
Coincidentally, about the same time, KENAFF had been invited by the State Department of Agriculture and Livestock to provide feedback on the Dairy Industry Bill 2023. In May and June, Agriterra’s Lobby & Advocacy expert Noah Ngetich supported KENAFF to consolidate feedback on the Dairy Industry Bill and connect dairy cooperatives, including Chepkorio, Baringo Marketing Cooperative, Limuru and Mangu Dairy - currently supported by Agriterra. “For the policy pitch, we consulted the members of KENAFF in the seven regions of Kenya, and we gathered issues specifically in the dairy sector. One very prominent issue was the high cost of production for dairy farmers”, he explains. “We wanted to try and push the government to come up with legislation to ease the cost of production, which is heavily influenced by the expensive raw materials, maize and soy. Kenya is a net importer of these products.” Because of the high import duties, it can be very pricey, especially for smallholders and low-income farmers, to feed their animals. They are therefore unable to gain a competitive advantage.
After the concrete issue was established, Ngetich’s task was to support the federation, which has around 250.000 members, in creating a proposal with secondary data. “We made sure that it was strongly supported by evidence”, he explains. “The potential gains of ramifying such a paradigm shift needs authentic information to be relevant and keep the dairy farmers well informed.” He also organised meetings with key decision makers to lobby for a beneficial policy, using a thorough stakeholder mapping and analysis. For that, Ngetich also managed to leverage on his existing networks within the office of the president and the government of Kenya to see to it that the bill was a success. “We came up with a big, concrete and validated proposal, which was able to gain a lot of momentum with the government. The information we collected from the members turned out to be very relevant.” In early August, the government decided to approve the duty free importation of raw materials for processing of animal feeds as part of a larger package of reforms until the 7 February 2024. The long-term plans are in the works, Ngetich explains.
To the Lobby & Advocacy expert, it was clear that here, a change was necessary. With Agriterra’s support, KENAFF managed to achieve this. “It was an opportunity that we got and the government turned out to be receptive to get the feedback from stakeholders. It benefits a significant amount of farmers, also indirectly: for instance the poultry and fish farmers in Kenya”, he says. In concrete numbers, it is expected that it will result in the saving of around eight million euros. In fact, the cost of the maize import might drop with around seven percent, the cost for soy even as much as fourteen percent. “The change in legislation is going to be an incentive to dairy farmers as well as people wanting to participate in the dairy production.”
Ngetich is very satisfied with the achievement and looks forward to the future. The Kenya Kwanza Government, Kenya Dairy Board and other key stakeholders are considering long-term plans. Starting in November 2023, when the government launched the Dairy Industry Sustainability Road-map 2023 – 2033, geared towards increasing dairy farmers’ income by doubling their milk production per cow. With this, the government favors the low income and smallholder farmers”, he says. “It is inspiring to see it go directly to the farmers, which is also what Agriterra strongly believes in. I am very excited about this accomplishment. It is definitely not always easy to push for positive change.”