Farmers from the counties of Uasin Gishu and Bungoma are part of the beneficiaries of the 5.1 billion shillings fund that was disbursed by the European Union and the government of Denmark through the AgriBiz programme.
The fund has benefitted 200 youth and women in agribusiness activities in the two counties by providing proof of concept grants and results-based financing to assist the farmers in commercialization.
The fund that is managed by Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) is benefiting individuals, self-help groups and community-based organisations that are involved in different animals and crops value chains.
Speaking during a visit to the two counties this week, Dr. Edward Mungai the CEO of KCIC has said that the overall idea is to create 17,000 jobs in Kenya in the next four years and to ensure that agriculture becomes a lucrative business for the youth.
“The overall idea is to make agriculture cool and to ensure that youth in Kenya take it as a career,” he said during a courtesy call to Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno.
“In Uasin Gishu alone, we have supported over 111 farmers groups through a funding of 10 million shillings, with 17 million shillings slated for disbursement before the end of September.” The climate change organisation has also set a business incubation hub at the AMS in Eldoret to further support farmers with incubation.
Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno who spoke on behalf of Governor Jackson Mandago lauded the efforts by KCIC to support farmers noting that there is a significant output from the programme.
“We are not only seeing new innovative agribusiness ideas coming up in county and showing interest in the AgriBiz programme, but we have seen quite a number of direct and indirect jobs created from a number of ventures that have been supported,” he said.
Some of the agripreneurships that have been supported in the two counties include production, processing and marketing of products around crops, pigs, dairy and fisheries value chains. One of the innovators in the periphery of Uasin Gishu is in the business of sericulture: farming eri and mulberry worms for the production of silk for domestic and international markets.
This is a rare agri-innovation in the region but one that seeks to bring onboard the community through sericulture training and production.
Bungoma County Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has said that the major gap in his county has been not only financing of agripreneurships as well as well capacity building with technical support expedient for farmers to scale up.
“We have potential ideas, but they lack the requisite technical backup that includes access to information, linkages and facilities, which the AgriBiz programme is addressing,” he said.
In Bungoma, 82 farmers have been supported with technical support and financing worth more than 19 million shillings with 21 million shillings planned to be disbursed in the coming month.
The AgriBiz programme targets rural and peri-urban youth and women who are under employed and lack the financial resources and know-how to create viable sustainable businesses.