KENYA – The County Government of Makueni, Eastern Kenya, has entered into partnership with Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust (MESPT) and secured funding from the European Union (EU) through DANIDA to implement food safety systems in the county.

DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency) is the official development cooperation agency of the Government of Denmark under the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They focus on eradication of poverty and ensuring sustainable development in partnering countries.

The initiative will be implemented through a campaign dubbed, AgriFI Food Safety Programme which aims to ensure quality of agricultural products for both domestic and export markets.

According to the Governor of Makueni County, Kivutha Kibwana, the aim of the campaign is to promote public health and to protect the consumers against health hazards posed by unsafe agricultural products.

The programme will target three major value chains namely; Aquaculture, Dairy and Horticulture.

MESPT, an establishment of the Government of Kenya and the European Union, whose aim is to promote economic growth, employment creation and poverty alleviation through enterprise development will play a key role in ensuring the implementation and success of the program.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of MESPT, Charles Nyawade said the programme will involve testing, surveillance and enforcement of Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) regulations at the county level.

This includes setting up of testing labs and provision of testing and surveillance kits and equipment.

In addition to that, development and dissemination of value chain-based extension curricula modules, integrating the compliance to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regulations will be undertaken. This will also involve consumer sensitization on food safety.

MESPT will also support development of the Agricultural Training Centre at the county which will be the country’s model for Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education Training (ATVET) centre.

According to Nyawade, the centre has already received Ksh.2M (about US$ 19,000) for basic infrastructural installations.

It will be key in offering a holistic capacity building of all agricultural value chain actors especially farmers and extension officers.

The county government has already established training infrastructure such as an aquatic hatchery, a fish farm as well as irrigation farm.

Agricultural sector is the major drive of economic growth within Makueni County thus they have been partnering with different players in the industry to boost growth.

In June they penned a deal with World Food Programme (WFP) to promote Sustainable Food Systems in the County.

The five-year program, based on a 50-50 funding for multi sectoral value chains development targets smallholder producers, youth, market and supply chain actors, food-insecure and vulnerable populations to benefit from sustainable, resilient inclusive food systems to meet food and nutrition needs by 2023.