The European Union Friday awarded three Kenyan companies grants worth more than Kshs 190 million, through the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund to support innovation and growth of the country’s agri–enterprise sector.
Announcing the awards to Sereni Fries, Bubayi Products Ltd and Prosoya Kenya Ltd, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Henriette Geiger said, “The three companies have been chosen based on their innovative ideas and their social impact. We expect this grant to go a long way in creating more jobs and integrating smallholder farmers in value chains while introducing climate smart agriculture innovative practices.”
Sereni Fries is a potato processor and producer of a range of popular potato chip snacks, Prosoya Kenya manufactures animal feeds from crops including sorghum and millet, while Bubayi Ltd processes and sells certified bean seed.
The funding was announced at an SME Networking Breakfast hosted by Self Help Africa at a Nairobi hotel.
The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund has provided grant financing to 37 agri–enterprises which have created close to 4,000 new jobs, and reached 100,000 smallholder farmers and pastoralists in twelve different value chains across Kenya including dairy, horticulture, aquaculture, cotton, pyrethrum, coffee, sorghum, nuts, gums, potatoes, apiculture, cereals and pulses.
The Challenge Fund has been administered through five calls that have now been all now contracted. The three companies awarded Friday marks the close of the calls.
The funds have leveraged Kshs 4.4 billion in private sector investment from commercial banks in Kenya international financing institutions and companies own resources.
In addition to the financial support, the awardees have benefitted from technical assistance on enterprise development, social inclusion and market linkages.
Managed by Self Help Africa and Imani Development Limited, the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund is an initiative of the European Union and co-funded by SlovakAid to support productive and market-integrated smallholder agriculture through the provision of financial support.
The fund aims to contribute to improvement in the capacity of smallholder farmers/pastoralists to practice environmentally sustainable and climate smart agriculture as a business in inclusive value chains.
Speaking at the event held at a Nairobi hotel Evelyn Gandani, Self Help Africa’s Country Director underscored the need for development partners to support to the agriculture sector. “The private sector is the main driver and creator of close to 40% of jobs in the agriculture sector by creating opportunities for smallholder farmers and that is why we are implementing programmes like AgriFI to incentivize private sector investments through bankable businesses which in turn contribute to the country’s GDP,” she noted.
Through access to agricultural inputs, market linkages, improved seed varieties, climate smart practices and digitized agricultural sector information, small-scale farmers, have progressively diversified into competitive value chains thus improving their household incomes and livelihoods.