An eight member Kenyan delegation led by Muo Hamisi Williams, the Technical Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary participated in a one-week study tour to Indonesia to learn about the country’s experience, best practices and lessons learnt from Food Security and Nutrition policy planning and implementation within a decentralized governance system.
The delegation also includes senior experts from the Taskforce drafting the new Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASGTS), as well representatives from the different State Departments of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, a representative of the Council of Governors, and a focal point representing the youth.
“What was really impressive to see, was the strong inter-sectoral and inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms that Indonesia has, and how the different levels of Government (National, Province and District) manage to deliver harmonious service all the way down to the farmer level”, said Muo Hamisi Williams, Head of Kenyan Delegation, and the Technical Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary.
Why the Study Tour?
The new Kenyan Constitution, which was promulgated in August 2010, put the country on a transition path from centralized to decentralized governance system. Elections in March 2013 marked the official launch of the country’s decentralization process, as 47 new county governments were launched with elected governors and county assemblies. Even though Kenya has made numerous positive steps towards implementation of the devolved system, the transition and the institutional changes therein continue to present challenges of coordination and effective delivery of agricultural and other services that are heavily devolved.
Within this context, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Kenya sought to learn from the experiences and knowledge in countries who have successfully transitioned into devolved governance systems.
“In February, the Kenyan Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries met with the Director-General as well as strategic programme coordinators and division directors in Rome to discuss the scope of the study tour. Following the meeting, we then were contacted by the ministry suggesting a tour to better understand the question of devolution,” states Mulat Demeke, Senior Policy Officer at FAO Kenya and the previous Study Tour conducted in Peru and Ecuador by the Kenyan delegation and also facilitated by FAO.
The Study Tour is organized within the framework of the FAO and the European Union supported programme on “Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST), whose aim is to provide policy assistance mechanisms for improved food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture.
“Indonesia began its decentralization process way back in 1998, and have accumulated years of experience in working within a decentralized system. South-South Cooperation (SSC) is an excellent mechanism for developing countries to share knowledge, and to adapt experiences that have already worked well in one place for the benefit of others.” explains Athifa Ali, Programme Officer at FAO’s Partnership and South-South Cooperation Division and the Coordinator of the study tour to Indonesia and Malaysia .
During the visit, the delegation met with a number of key stakeholders including the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Bureau of Logistics (BULOG) – a state owned enterprise which deals with food procurement, distribution and price control for key food commodities. The delegation also visited the Provincial Government of West Java, and met with the local government stakeholders from the planning, agriculture and fisheries sector, agricultural and livestock institutions and farmers from the area. The delegation also met with the District Head of Agriculture Services who plays a key role in the delivery of agriculture services, in particular agricultural extension,
The members of the delegations engaged in in-depth consultations and question and answer sessions to deepen their understanding of the national and provincial planning systems, and how the different levels of government work together. In particular, the delegates learned about the Indonesian Governments Special Programme on Self-Sufficiency on rice, corn and soybean (known as UPSUS PAJALE), and how the programme moved from policy to implementation, and how the different levels of government work together to contribute to deliver on the national food security goals.
The knowledge and experiences gained will be documented as a major publication to serve as a reference material on devolution and coordination of policy implementation.
“We are preparing to present our findings to our Government and we target to have the results of the study tour feed into the formulation of the Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation strategy (ASGTS) currently being finalized, ”states Williams.