KENYA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed US$159.5m to support dairy and horticultural farmers to increase their production.

USAID noted that through the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS) project, the organization targets to reduce poverty and malnutrition in Kenya by fostering competitive, inclusive and resilient markets.

According to USAID Chief of Party, Robert Mwadime the organization is working with the private sector, and the national and county governments to identify export markets for farmers.

“We will work with smallholder farmers in remote areas by providing them with over a thousand quality seedlings to improve productivity,” Mwadime said.

“Bearing in mind that the productivity of old trees like avocados and mangoes has gone down, we as KCDMS will provide quality seedlings so that by the end of 2023 they will be able to produce more than 100,000 seedlings.”

Mwadime added that the sole purpose of the project is to address the challenges such as drought and the high cost of inputs which has ensured low agricultural productivity, especially among farmers in rural areas.

Earlier this year, fish farmers in Kirinyaga County got a major boost after Governor Anne Waiguru extended the distribution of free fish feeds to enhance aquaculture in the county.

The initiative saw 335 fish farmers benefit from the supply of fish feeds and boost Kirinyaga’s fish produce in the wake of rising consumer demand for fish in the Mt. Kenya region.

Out of these farmers were 254 beneficiaries who had earlier been issued with some 254,000 fish fingerlings to venture into fish farming by Governor Waiguru’s administration.

The governor said this was part of an elaborate plan by her administration to empower farmers to undertake aquaculture so as to diversify their agricultural activities in order to increase their revenue streams.

Fish farming and consumption, a practice considered cultural a preserve for communities around the Lake Victoria basin and the Coast region, is gradually being embraced by all thus pushing the demand high.

“Under the fisheries program, we have been supporting farmers by providing them with free fishpond liners, fingerlings and six months of fish feed,” the governor said.

“The farmers on the other hand were expected to construct the fishponds and thereafter nurture the fish to maturity. Proceeds from the harvest should then be used to replenish their ponds with more fingerlings in order to sustain the project.”

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.