Bruno Linyiru has been appointed as the Director General of the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), marking the culmination of a decade-long quest for a substantive head.

Dr Linyiru’s selection was made by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi, positioning him as the inaugural substantive head of AFA since its inception in 2014.

Although the new appointee’s name has yet to be officially gazetted, AFA chairman Cornelly Serem confirmed to Business Day Africa the occurrence of the appointment yesterday, refraining from disclosing the appointee’s identity.

“I am aware that someone has been appointed, however, due to my absence from the office, I am not in a position to disclose the appointee’s name,” said Mr Serem.

New AFA DG Bruno Linyiru. Image: courtesy (NMICO).
New AFA DG Bruno Linyiru. Image: courtesy (NMICO).

This appointment sparked considerable interest among senior officials at the Office of the President and Kilimo, leading to delays in the selection process despite the conclusion of interviews in January this year.

Three candidates were submitted to CS Linturi for consideration, including Christine Chesaro, the current acting head of the Horticulture Directorate and a former Chief Executive Committee Member for Agriculture in Nandi County.

Controversy surrounding the appointment emerged last year when the initial public notice inviting applications for interviews was retracted, subsequently readvertising the position with revised qualifications.

The initial advertisement stipulated a requirement of at least a Master’s degree and a bachelor’s in agriculture coupled with 10 years of experience, whereas the subsequent advertisement lowered the qualification threshold to any degree, omitting the necessity for a Master’s degree and reducing the requisite experience to five years.

Dr Linyiru holds a PhD in entrepreneurship from JKUAT and has served at the Ministry of Trade as the Secretary of Trade.

Since its establishment in 2014, AFA has witnessed a succession of five different Acting DGs, with all heads of various directorates serving in an acting capacity throughout this period. AFA’s inception followed the amalgamation of former agricultural parastatals under a unified entity.

Calls from farmer groups and legislators have advocated for the dissolution of AFA, proposing the reversion of current directorates to their original independent forms.

Thus far, the Tea Board of Kenya stands as the sole entity to have severed ties with AFA, attaining autonomy as an independent parastatal.