Developing Inclusive, Multistakeholder Ag Policy in Kenya
For years, Kenyan non-state actors (NSAs) in the agriculture sector, including input suppliers, producers, research and academic institutions, civil society and agribusinesses, and women and youth, have struggled to find a single voice on strengthening agriculture in the country. In recent decades, umbrella organizations representing these actors have been established and have advocated for specific interests, but no one group has worked to align the various groups around a collaborative agenda.
All that changed when the Agriculture Council of Kenya (AgCK) stepped forward as a new, unified voice for dialogue and engagement for NSAs. The organization’s overall goal is to improve Kenya’s agricultural contribution to socioeconomic development and to provide an opportunity for sector stakeholders to engage in agricultural development dialogue, specifically the long-standing agricultural reform agenda.
To help the AgCK reach this goal, Africa Lead — Feed the Future’s Building Capacity for African Agricultural Transformation Program — provided institutional strengthening support. Africa Lead’s involvement with the AgCK is just one example of years of efforts to improve inclusive, multistakeholder policy development processes throughout the continent. Based on this work and with other efforts to build inclusive, multistakeholder platforms, the program captured the following relevant lessons learned:
- Early-stage co-design creates greater stakeholder buy-in during the design, planning, implementation and follow-up processes of policy learning. Engaging all stakeholders in these processes promotes evidence generation, learning, commitment and stakeholder participation.
- Strategic focus on clear thematic areas and institutions advances key policy areas. Identifying strategic thematic areas and institutions, with a clear understanding of their interrelationships, will deepen support and engagement while helping to achieve the broader objective of advancing policy change.
- New partnerships emerge during facilitation processes. Bringing together key stakeholders has enabled new partnerships to emerge and networks to be strengthened. These new partnerships create the opportunity to provide more technical support and to involve more players in co-designing and facilitating policy dialogues.
- Awareness of changes in government operational structures is essential to the consultation process. In some instances, changes in host government operations have brought about a climate of uncertainty on decision-making processes and daily operations.
For more information on Africa Lead’s policy facilitation efforts, please visit africaleadftf.org/topics/program-updates.
Africa Lead supports the advancement of agricultural transformation in Africa as proposed by the African Union Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program. Africa Lead also contributes to the Feed the Future goals of reduced hunger and poverty by building the capacity of Champions — i.e., male and female leaders in agriculture — and the institutions in which they operate to develop, lead and manage the policies, structures and processes needed for transformation.