Legislation drawn up and passed to regulate agriculture in Kenya guides the conducted of business in the livestock and crop sub-sectors while ensuring that farmers and consumers are safe.
Seed and Plant Varieties Act
This key law is aimed at regulating transactions in seeds, including indigenous and farm-saved ones which were incorporated in the 2015.
The amendments were done to establish a plant genetic resources centre which is tasked with protecting the ownership of indigenous seeds and plant varieties. It also documents the indigenous seed characteristics and other related indigenous knowledge.
The centre also monitors and regulates the use of the seeds by communities. The law stipulates that no seed shall be certified unless it has been, inspected, sampled, tested and complies with prescribed standards. These standards dictate field inspection and seed processing to remove undesirable contaminants as well as testing to determine quality factors such as purity, moisture content, germination capacity, diseases, labelling and sealing. Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority Act The law came into force in January 2013. It consolidated all the laws on the regulation and promotion of agriculture.
The Act established the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFA) to replace several government corporations including Coconut Development Authority, Kenya Sugar Board, Tea Board of Kenya, Coffee Board of Kenya, Horticultural Crop Development Authority, Pyrethrum Board of Kenya, Cotton Development Authority and Sisal Board of Kenya. All these institutions are now directorates under AFA.
Dairy Industry Act
The Dairy Industry Act provides for the control of the sector and its products, which include milk, cheese, ghee and yoghurt. It establishes the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), which is mandated to regulate, develop and promote the industry.
The board has the following functions: inspect and license milk handling premises, carry out surveillance on the quality and safety of milk and milk products, review and develop dairy standards as well as manage dairy imports and exports.
To further push its mandate, anyone who produces or sells milk must be registered with the board. Failure to register in one month of starting production is punishable by law.
The Public Health Act
The Public Health Act is linked to the agricultural sector because it regulates the sale of food. It prohibits the sale of any food that is adulterated or unfit for use.
According to the law, any person who collects, prepares, manufactures, keeps, transmits or exposes for sale any foodstuff without guarding against or preventing any infection commits an offence.
The Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC) Act
The law established the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) as a government institution mandated to promote development of agriculture and agricultural industries by offering loans to farmers, cooperative societies, groups, private companies, public bodies, local authorities and agricultural industries.
The interest rate for any particular class of loan is determined by the board, with the approval of Treasury Cabinet Secretary.
The Fertiliser and Animal Foodstuff Act
This law regulates the importation, manufacture and sale of fertiliser and animal foodstuff.
It prohibits the importation, manufacture, compounding, mixing or sale of fertiliser or animal foodstuff unless the items are approved and conform to set standards.
This law also stipulates that no person is allowed to manufacture or sell any fertiliser or animal foodstuff containing bone or any other substance derived from an animal carcass unless such bone has been sterilised in the prescribed manner.
The Animal Diseases Act
The Animal Diseases Act and its subsidiary legislations regulate matters relating to animal diseases. It requires that a farmer keeps sick animals enclosed and separated from others to avoid infection. The disease must be reported immediately to the nearest veterinary officer or inspector. The law allows a veterinary surgeon who has reason to believe or suspect that any notifiable disease exists on any farm or in an area to notify the nearest administrative officer or inspector for action. The Animal Diseases Act legal notice 47 also prohibits the sale of chicks to farmers without a licence from the Director of Veterinary Services. The Crops (Irish Potato) Regulations 2019. This law restricts packaging of potatoes in bags of more than 50kg. It further stipulates that potatoes should be sold in kilos. Anyone contravening the law will be liable to a fine of up to Sh5 million or a sentence not exceeding three years or both.
Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act
The Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act regulates the domestication of non-conventional livestock such as crocodiles, tortoises, chameleons, snails, frogs, lizards, butterflies, snakes and birds such as ostriches, pigeons, doves, ducks, guinea fowl and quelea.
To keep the livestock, one must get a licence from Kenya Wildlife Service, which is renewable annually, and goes for between Sh1,000 and 2,000. Contravention of the law can lead to a fine of up to Sh1 million or jail term of two years or both.
Meat Control Act
The Meat Control Act requires that all animals, including birds, must be slaughtered for human consumption in a licensed abattoir. Slaughtering animals for sale at home or in any other place not licensed as a slaughterhouse, is an offence. If convicted, one is liable to pay a fine of up to Sh10,000 or face up to 12 months in jail or both.
To keep the livestock, one must get a licence from Kenya Wildlife Service, which is renewable annually, and goes for between Sh1,000 and 2,000.
Agricultural Produce (Export) Act
This law protects the global market by regulating the exporting of farm produce. No person is allowed to export any meat unless the abattoir or slaughtering place is sanctioned as fit for the purpose.
Similarly, no person shall export, or permit to be exported, or attempt to export any milk products unless the dairy, factory, creamery or premises where such products, compositions or substitutes are collected, prepared or stored are sanctioned as fit for such purpose.
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) (Plant Treaty)
This agreement recognises the contribution farmers make in conserving and developing crop genetic resources. Kenya ratified the treaty in 2006, thus, it forms part of the Laws of Kenya by virtue of Article 2(6) of the Constitution.