A new narrative in the agriculture sector in Kenya and in Africa is desirable. The nexus between public funding for agriculture and securing land rights for women has perpetually been a grey area. The strategic policy approach has been to starve women of much desired public funding to support their investments in the agriculture sector so as to provide strong basis for different policy direction as private sector Investments is considered as a solution to National food security. This has always tilted public funding towards Private Sector through the public –private partnership approaches. Kenya is not an exception, currently there are billions invested by National Government in promoting public- private partnerships in agriculture, Galana-
Kulalu irrigation being a case in point. It is interesting to note that despite devolution of the agriculture sector, there is significant increase in funding at National level at a scale that does not commensurate the growth at the Counties, and desire for new policy options.
In this issue we feature women’s struggles in the budget accountability processes for the agriculture sector. The results of women’s engagement with County Governments are beginning to yield some positive results through opening spaces for dialogue, allowing women farmers to influence priorities, and tracking budget accountability in the sector. Notably, through the public financing programme, women collectives have been strengthened to occupy spaces to influence allocation in the County level. In Baringo, women farmers have engaged the County Government for better budget allocations and social audit with remarkable success.
Given the proximity of agriculture budgets to women farmers, it is probably the right entry point to influencing service delivery in the sector. To augment this we further highlight the role devolution is playing in making women secure titles for their land through processes that are led by County Land Management Boards. This is indeed progressive!
The Kilimanjaro Project, a massive mobilization and strengthening of rural women land agenda at both National and County level has just began. Rural women as has been the case in Taita have begun demonstrating that it is indeed possible to take control of their land and negotiate for their rights with investors. Of course a much more gender disaggregated implementation of the Jubilee manifesto on land reforms is required. Luckily Kenya is a signatory of Africa wide commitments. The African Heads of States through the Africa Land Policy Centre committed to implementing a land reform agenda aimed at increasing land ownership by women in Africa countries with a target of 30 per cent of documented lands allocated to women by 2025. This was adopted in October 2015. This agenda forms a perfect synergy with our local mobilization of women and the Africa wide Kilimanjaro mobilization. Our strong aspiration in the Kilimanjaro mobilization will tie the two important ingredients for women economic rights – land and access to public investments for increased production based on agriculture and natural resource wealth.