Kenya receives US$4.4m from EU to boost food production, aid COVID-19 recovery efforts

KENYA – The government of Kenya has secured Kshs.500 million (US$4.4m) from the European Union (EU) to support small scale farmers in five counties in the western region, so as to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The donation programme being implemented by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) targets to support farmers’ access to high-quality inputs to produce food for household use and market the surplus.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said during the official launch that providing food and nutrition security to all Kenyans is the core responsibility of government, and thus the support will go a long way in assisting the recovery efforts from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Through the KCEP-CRAL Plus support, 19,000 farmers will be enrolled in the e-voucher system, to access subsidized inputs for the maize and beans and Irish potatoes value chains during the March-April-May 2021 season, from the high potential stated counties,” said Munya in the meeting held virtually.

He added that farmers will be expected to start off-loading food to the markets, as early as June 2021 for the Irish potatoes and beans value chains.

“The EU contribution intends to support the Kenya Government efforts to guarantee sufficient food production and safely provide to all Kenyans.”

Head of EU Delegation to Kenya – Simon Mordue

It is also expected that a total of 26,618 tons of maize, 2,639 tons of beans, and 3,120 tons of Irish potatoes will be harvested to enable easing of food prices and availing more food to the population by mid- 2021.

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“Farmers will also benefit from capacity building in good agricultural practices, post-harvest management, aggregation, and marketing,” he said.

The Electronic Voucher System (e-Voucher) developed under the 11th EDF, through the KCEP-CRAL ensures farmers access to high-quality inputs to produce food for household use and market the surplus.

To ensure ownership and sustainability, farmers contribute to the input value, at graduated rates of 10%, 40%, and 70%.

Head of EU Delegation to Kenya Simon Mordue explained that farmers will be looped into the programme through the e-Voucher and confirming that the 19,000 farmers will directly benefit and thus expected to produce 18,000 tonnes of maize, beans, and Irish potatoes.

Ambassador Mordue noted that the project will help to improve the Covid-19 compliance of 68 market places, 235 collection centres, 15 warehouses, and 453 agro-dealers, in order to improve hygiene practices and reduce the risks of transmission of the virus.

“The EU contribution intends to support the Kenya Government efforts to guarantee sufficient food production and safely provide to all Kenyans,” he said noting that the EU has the intention of continuing its support of Kenya’s agriculture sector in their next financing cycle covering 2021 to 2027, subject to the approval procedures being completed in Brussels.

Esther Kasalu-Coffin, IFAD head of Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean Hub and Country Director noted that the e-Voucher scheme has led to increasing yields by over 50% in the high potential areas of Western Kenya and reduction in post-harvest losses from 25% to 12%, reducing the national food deficit by over 20,000 metric tons, within the last four years.

“The funding will support 19,000 small scale farmers, of which at least 60% will be women or youth, who graduated from the ongoing KCEP-CRAL programme in the Western Region and this will prevent them from sliding back, in their socio-economic development after receiving support from the KCEP-CRAL programme,” she said.

Kasalu-Coffin noted that using innovative mobile phone application developed by Equity Bank of Kenya, where farmers’ and vendors’ transactions, will be managed, targeted farmers will be able to access agricultural inputs at 95% subsidy, valued at about Kshs.22,300 (US$200) which they envisage will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and other external shocks on their farm revenues.

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