About 2,400 businesses run by Kenyan women and youth in the agricultural sector will receive funding. It is not only about money but also long-term goals. with this in mind beneficiaries will undergo training in a Ksh5.1 billion (€44.4 million) programme led by the European Union.
The programme dubbed AgriBiz project aims to create about 17,000 new jobs for women and youth in agribusiness both directly and indirectly through revamped agribusiness value chains.
As part of agribiz , eight business incubation hubs will be set up in eight counties during the projects life.
The counties picked will include but not limited to
- Uasin Gishu,
- Nyeri and
The hubs will offer training, business advisory and financing. The goal is to help modernize farming and livestock keeping among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“We welcome and fully support this initiative from the European Union, which is very much aligned with the Ministry’s Agricultural Transformation and Growth Strategy 2019-2029 priorities,” said Chief Administrative Secretary for Agriculture Anne Nyaga during the launch at Strathmore University in Nairobi on March 6.
The Sh5.1 billion campaign covering five years will be implemented by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC). It’s funded by the European Union, alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and African Development Bank.
The AgriBiz project is expected to uplift Kenya’s food security and contribute strongly to manufacturing,
Agriculture is Kenya’s backbone, accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employing more than half of the population.
Food security is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s four development pillars (Big 4 agenda), alongside manufacturing, healthcare and housing.
Speaking at the event, the EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue said that agri-business can be a rewarding venture for Kenyan youth and women with the right training and access to funds.
“We expect these companies to prosper, create some 17,000 jobs, enable over 200,000 smallholder farmers to access markets, services and inputs thus driving the growth of the Kenyan economy, and providing an excellent example for many others,” Mordue said.
“AgriBiz was jointly designed by the EU, the Government of Kenya and the implementing partners to provide concrete business and employment opportunities for two of the most overlooked categories of agri-preneurs – youth and women.”
The EU said that a further Sh17.6 billion will be offered in loans to agribusinesses through local financial institutions under the African Guarantee Fund. Farmers to benefit Sh5bn agribusiness funding rounds.
Presently, the average age of a Kenyan farmer is 59 an improvement from 65 with an increase in youth joining, as most youths shun the sector, perceived to be dirty and unrewarding, a situation the AgriBiz project seeks to turn around.
Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mette Knudsen said: “The AgriBiz programme holds a promise of sustainable and decent jobs for women and youth in agricultural value chains. It reflects the wishes for a more equal and greener future.”
“The alignment to the FAO strategic focus and the Government of Kenya is required and should be able to bring around the focus from ‘farm to fork’ but also to foster sustainable land and natural resource management for the future,” said FAO country representative Tobias Takavarasha.
Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) CEO Edward Mungai said: “There’s a silent revolution taking place in Kenya with hundreds of young people and women farmers abandoning traditional ways of farming in favour of innovation and technology-led farming and this is what this program will augment.”
Free land, Farmers to benefit Sh5bn agribusiness funding rounds.
At the same time, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua said his county government would provide land to youth and women admitted into the programme.
“To show my commitment, there is the issue of access to land by youth and women. My government is going to provide our county land free of charge to the youth and women of our county to take care of the issues of land for as long as they are working with you,” he said.
His Bungoma counterpart said: “This programme will tackle one of the biggest issues in this country which unemployment. By merging the two groups- women and youth under the age of 35, the program would be targeting about 90 percent of the population; which is made up of 50 percent women and 75 percent youth.”
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