KENYA – Kenya has received a Kshs 643 million (US$5.9m) grant from the European Union to fund the cereals value chain and boost production post COVID-19.

The grant is part of a Kshs 15 billion (US$138.5m) fund expected to finance a government initiative to increase cereal production across 13 high potential counties, reports KBC.

The project targets 185,000 farmers to increase production of maize, beans, sorghum green grams and cowpeas.

Kenya produced 4 million metric tonnes of cereals in 2019 which was 5 percent lower than the average recorded in the previous 5 years.

The EU grant will also finance market access programmes, and training of cereals farmers on crop husbandry to produce quality cereals.

In addition, it will be utilized to reduce post-harvest losses as the government is refurbishing 11 warehouses.

Kenya produced 4 million metric tonnes of cereals in 2019 which was 5 percent lower than the average recorded in the previous 5 years in what was blamed on flooding among other factors.

However, Agriculture Principal Secretary Prof. Hamadi Boga says the deficit has been partially bridged by an increase of 15,710 metric tonnes of cereals annually in the country’s grain reserve.

Over the next five years, the government is targeting to invest Kshs 5 billion (US$46.15m) to increase cereals production.

In the same vein, Bidco Africa, leading consumer good company in East Africa has partnered with Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) to launch a sunflower farming initiative dubbed ‘Tujiinue Tena’ in Igembe South, Meru County, Eastern of Kenya.

The sunflower initiative targets more than 3,000 farmers in the semi-arid area to raise local production of sunflower to meet Bidco’s demand of 10,000 metric tonnes for oil production.

The edible oil manufacturer is ready to spend more than Sh120 million (US$1.1m) in buying sunflower seeds from the farmers as it races to plug a local supply deficit of more than 6,000 tonnes.

Under the initiative aimed to transform agri-business in Africa by enhancing rural prosperity through inclusive value chains, the farmers will have a dedicated agronomist to ensure optimum production.

The Kenya Seed Company is also in support of the venture as it has offered to provide seed at subsidised price of Sh150 per kilo.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya welcomed the initiative saying it will go a long way in diversifying miraa farmers’ earnings.

Mr Munya said the government is looking for funds to construct a dam in Igembe South to enhance irrigated agriculture in semi-arid areas.

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