The recently launched AgriBiz programme by the European Union (EU), Danida, FAO, African Development Bank, Africa Guarantee Fund and the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) is now set to roll out after the latter (KCIC) sent out its call for applications to youth and women in agribusiness in Kenya.
The rollout of this programme had been slowed down by the spread of COVID-19.
KCIC however calling upon women and youth wishing to start or expand an agribusiness enterprise to look for support from this programme.
The call will be open for a period of 21 days.
AgriBiz programme, which aims to address key challenges that hinder youth and women from tapping into the agricultural sector, is targeted to help 2,400 agribusinesses owned by women and youth to grow.
These enterprises are expected to create 17,000 job opportunities along agricultural value chains.
It is further expected to increase smallholder production and household incomes in Kenya through improved agricultural production which will consequently have a positive ripple effect on food security, one of the pillars of the Government of Kenya’s Big Four Action Plan.
Speaking during the call for applications, the EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue commented, “The EU has encouraged all its implementing partners to adapt their strategy to the situation, especially by adopting digital technologies to continue supporting Kenyan farmers and entrepreneurs.”
Adding that, “We know there are many youth and women with excellent business ideas in Kenya, and we are happy that Kenya Climate Innovation Center has found the way to bring technical and financial assistance to them through our support, despite the current Covid-19 lockdown. This is a vital injection of life for the Kenyan economy and food security.”
The funding for the programme, which is projected to cost Kshs 5.1 billion, will come from the European Union, Denmark (Danida) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The programme will be implemented by the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, jointly with eight selected county governments – Kilifi, Machakos, Kiambu, Meru, Isiolo, Kisii, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu.
The Chief Executive Officer of KCIC Edward Mungai has underlined that support will be given to agribusinesses that make it through the screening process. “At this time when job opportunities are shrinking, we want to give hope to many women and youth by engaging them in the AgriBiz programme and hence create the much-needed jobs.”
“Our aim is also to increase agricultural productivity and boost food security in Kenya; We will admit as many enterprises as possible from all the counties across Kenya. The agribusinesses that we admit shall be eligible for not only financial support, but also technical support from our team of experts.” Said Mungai.
Making agriculture cool again
The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Prof. Hamadi Boga also stated that this is a great opportunity for making agriculture cool again. “The average age of the Kenyan farmer is 60, while that of the consumer is 17. It is important that all stakeholders work together to bring more youth in the agriculture value chains.”
“Opportunities for youth engagement exist, and the Ministry of Agriculture recently launched the Youth in Agribusiness strategy to guide stakeholders on how to bring youth into mainstream business. The government will continue supporting such programmes and creating incentives that will make agriculture cool for everyone.” PS Boga stated.
In Kenya, the Kenya National Bureau of Standards has estimated that agriculture contributes more than 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In Africa and the globe at large, agriculture is a main contributor to food security and global wellbeing.
There are numerous agricultural practices that are adopting modern technology and are applicable in both rural and modern areas.