KENYA – Agribusinesses in Kenyan counties i.e., Kisii and Uasin Gishu have received the much-needed shot-in-the-arm with a Ksh. 5.1 billion (US$46.3 million) funding from the European Union.
The two regional county governments and Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at accelerating the engagement of women and youth in agribusiness activities through the AgriBIz programme which is funded by the European Union and Danida at a cost of US$46.3 million.
The Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate the collaboration and cooperation between the two entities in advancing small and medium enterprises in the agribusiness sector, reports The Star.
“AgriBiz will channel resources to a crucial sector to provide meaningful and quality job creation opportunities for them, in a high potential sector such as agribusiness.”Simon Mordue – EU Ambassador to Kenya
The growth of the Kisii county is largely dependent on performance of the agricultural sector as the county is endowed with favourable climate, soils, and human resource for agricultural production.
It is expected that with increased productivity, commercialization and enhanced competitiveness of agricultural production, the core objectives of creation of employment, food security and increase in incomes among farmers in the county will be realised.
The AgriBiz programme aims to promote sustainable employment for youth and women by providing training, coaching, and mentoring in the entrepreneurship and business skills needed to develop and run successful agricultural enterprises.
“Youth bring with them innovative ideas and a willingness to take risks. But what they often lack is access to the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to make use of these talents,” said Simon Mordue, EU Ambassador to Kenya.
“This programme is a timely intervention for the women and youth of Kenya. AgriBiz will channel resources to a crucial sector to provide meaningful and quality job creation opportunities for them, in a high potential sector such as agribusiness,” he added.
In addition to the capacity-building activities, the AgriBiz Programme will provide support in identifying market opportunities and value-adding activities, building links to markets, and gaining access to financial support.
The business innovation hubs to be established in the selected counties will play a key role in mentoring and incubating the nascent agribusinesses and the most-promising groups will receive grants from the project and additional assistance in taking their ideas to market.
Danish Ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke said, “If we want young people and women to engage meaningfully in agriculture, then we have to make agriculture profitable.”
“And for agriculture to be profitable, it has to be productive. Facilitating access to productive resources will allow youth and women to increase the productivity of agriculture and that is critical,” he added.
The two county governments will also work with KCIC to promote agribusiness ventures through inclusive policies.
The AgriBiz programme will support 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises across Kenya and it is projected to create of 17,000 job opportunities.
In Uasin Gishu, the MOU will facilitate the establishment of an innovation hub to enhance the capacity of youth and women-led enterprises working in the agribusiness sector by making it easy to access information, facilities, financing, and other requisite resources.
The main economic activity in Uasin Gishu County is agriculture, both crop and livestock production owing to the county’s rich fertile soils and favourable climatic conditions.
Edward Mungai, Chief Executive Officer at KCIC 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.”
KCIC will provide business advisory services and support the enterprises access financing both from within and from external sources as well.
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