The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry held the county economic blocs forum of agribusiness challenges and opportunities involving county executive members, chief officers and senior officers in the agriculture docket from 35 counties. The forum which follows the completion of collection of information in a diagnosis research study on the opportunities and challenges faced by SMEs in the agricultural sector is a partnership between the Chamber and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which aims to lead to evidence-based policy making as a way of strengthening policy and advocacy engagement.

Key speaker at the event 2nd Chamber Vice President Fatma Elmaawy termed the study as vital in accelerating the agenda for sustainable agricultural growth and development in the country and in supporting Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASGTS) and National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP).

“This initiative should be complemented with technology transfer, enhanced knowledge and experience sharing in value addition to accelerate economic diversification and industrialization,” said 2nd Chamber Vice President Fatma Elmaawy.

She added that the chamber will continue to strengthen & deepen its engagement with county governments and other stakeholders through the regional economic blocs established by counties.

“The Chamber intends to support & establish policies that need to be reviewed to support an enabling environment for agricultural competitiveness & sustainable growth,” Fatma added.

Speaking at the same event KNCCI Chief Executive Officer Angela Ndambuki said the Chamber will continue to play our critical role in supporting agricultural competitiveness to improve export market readiness, enhance skills on value addition, farm profitability optimization and wastage reduction.

“The Chamber is committed to supporting national agricultural development program by enhancing key drivers of dynamic growth and productivity,” Chamber CEO, Angela Ndambuki told the forum.

The chamber added that it is committed to addressing market development for commodities and processed goods through value chains and potential ways of strengthening the competitiveness of firms and farms within those value chains based on the studies.

On her part Chairperson of the CEC Agriculture caucus, Mary Nzomo termed the engagement between the private sector and county governments timely since agriculture has been devolved and there is a need to attract investment from the business community.

Data collection was undertaken at the County level using the CEOs of the KNCCI County chapters as the data collection agents. The full report is expected before the end of the year.

The county executive members and chief officers present represented the six regional economic blocs.