NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – The World Bank has approved Sh6.3 billion fund to enable Kenya’s small holder farmers to increase farm productivity and to promote agribusiness development.
The Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project approved by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on Friday will assist Kenya to diversify its agriculture, add value to its produce and deepen linkages to markets.
The fund is further expected to promote public private partnerships in service delivery and agribusiness.
World Bank Country Director for Kenya Johannes Zutt said: “This new investment will allow Kenyan farmers to be able to increase their production and value-addition in agriculture outputs and to strengthen agribusiness development in line with the Government’s Vision 2030.”
“The Bank is committed to supporting Kenya not only by increasing agricultural production to deal with the global food crisis, but also by adding value to agricultural output for higher incomes, employment and enhanced food security,” Mr Zutt said
The new project will consolidate and scale up the gains achieved through the Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project, which supported agricultural research, extension and empowerment of farmers.
He said the strategic focus of the new program will be to promote sector-wide approaches in line with Kenya’s development priorities that include the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) for agricultural sector growth and poverty reduction.
Project’s Task Team Leader Andrew Karanja said farmers will be encouraged to diversify into high value on and off farm activities to strengthen the Government’s strategy for reducing rural poverty.
“It will also enable the Government, development partners and other agencies involved in the agricultural sector to better coordinate financing and implementation of extension and other advisory services,” Mr Karanja said.
The Government will contribute an additional Sh1.09 billion to the new program, while the project beneficiaries who number around 250,000 households, will contribute Sh179.4 million in form of their labour and materials.
The project is linked to the East Africa Agricultural Productivity Program—a Sh7.02 billion project aimed at strengthening regional cooperation in the generation of technology, training and dissemination of dairy, cassava, rice and wheat.
Under this program, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania will each be allocated Sh2.34 billion.
The project is further linked to the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Sustainable Land Management Project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to facilitate agricultural producers in three important catchment areas to adopt environmentally sound land management practices.
In April, the Bank provided an emergency grant of Sh390 million under its Global Food Crisis Response Program to assist Kenya deal with significant food shortfalls due to the impact of the current drought in the country, high input prices and the global financial crisis.