NAIROBI, July 9 – The European Union has donated Sh12.3 million towards the production and sustenance of Aloe Vera project in Baringo District to boost the living standards of the area residents.
The EU said the money would improve the production of the aloe plant and its products for local use and export in a bid to reduce poverty in the district.
The money was donated to Koriema Aloe Project by Joseph Ruhiu, the Programme Manager of Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF), an arm of the EU.
Ruhiu said the project had earlier received Sh10 million two years ago for the initial development of the plant and a further Sh2.3 million was presented on Tuesday from CDTF to boost capacity building among the locals as well as enhancing the sustainability of the project.
The project is a joint initiative between the residents and Land Mawe Company, a firm contracted by the locals to put up aloe processing industry as well as marketing the products abroad. CDTF would also provide capacity training to the locals.
Ruhiu said CDTF had identified and prioritised key community projects countrywide for funding in line with the EU’s policy of funding communities to initiate sustainable projects, which would uplift their livelihoods.
The Baringo-Aloe project, he said, was a clear testimony that CDTF encourages private-public partnership to bridge financing constraints, which local communities usually face while implementing projects that can uplift their lives.
The CDTF projects prioritise wealth creation for beneficiaries as well as promoting the conservation of the environment in line with the Millennium Development Goals.
Ruhiu challenged the project management to utilise the funds transparently.
The project includes putting up of the aloe factory, construction of aloe nurseries and capacity training to help in production and marketing of the products.
Other state organisations involved in the production of the plant include: Kenya wildlife Services (KWS), Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), National Environment Management Authority (NEEMA) and the local leadership.
The Government is this week expected to issue a policy guideline on management of the crop in the country, which in the past has been lacking leading to farmers being exploited by middle men.