- Kenya’s small holder farmers have been boosted to increase farm productivity and to promote agribusiness development, through the World Bank’s facility totaling US$ 82 million.
The Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project approved by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors yesterday will assist Kenya to diversify its agriculture, add value and deepen linkages to markets. It will also promote public private partnerships in service delivery and agribusiness.
The new project will consolidate and scale up the gains achieved through the Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project, which supported agricultural research, extension and empowerment of farmers. The US$40 million Bank funded programme closed in December 2008.
“With this new investment, Kenyan farmers will be able to increase their production and value-addition in agriculture outputs and to strengthen agribusiness development in line with the Government’s Vision 2030,” said Johannes Zutt, the Country Director for Kenya. “The Bank is committed to supporting Kenya not only by increasing agricultural production to deal with the global food crisis, but also by adding value to agricultural output for higher incomes, employment and enhanced food security,” he added.
The strategic focus of the new programme will be to promote sector-wide approaches in line with Kenya’s development priorities that include the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) for agricultural sector growth and poverty reduction. Performance in this sector - which is projected to grow by 5-7 percent a year - directly affects the poor, as two-thirds of the population and 80 percent of the poor live in rural areas, where they derive their livelihoods on agriculture and related activities.
“Farmers will be encouraged to diversify into high value on and off farm activities to strengthen the Government’s strategy for reducing rural poverty,” said Andrew Karanja, the Project’s Task Team Leader. “It will also enable the Government, development partners and other agencies involved in the agricultural sector to better coordinate financing and implementation of extension and other advisory services.”
According to the statement issued by the World Bank, the Kenyan government will contribute an additional US$14.1 million to the new program, while the project beneficiaries who number around 250,000 households, will contribute US$2.3 million in form of their labor and materials.
The statement also mentioned that the project is linked to the East Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme -a US$90 million project aimed at strengthening regional cooperation in the generation of technology, training and dissemination of dairy, cassava, rice and wheat.
Under this programme, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania will each be allocated US$30 million. It is also linked to the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Sustainable Land Management Project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to facilitate agricultural producers in three important catchment areas to adopt environmentally sound land management practices.
In April, the World Bank provided an emergency grant of US$5 million under its Global Food Crisis Response Programme to assist Kenya deal with significant food shortfalls due to the impact of the current drought in the country, high input prices and the global financial crisis.
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