The United States Agency International Development (USAID) has committed Ksh 22.6 billion to support dairy and horticultural farmers increase their production.
Through the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS) project, USAID also targets to reduce poverty and malnutrition in Kenya by fostering competitive, inclusive and resilient markets.
USAID Chief of Party Robert Mwadime said the organization is working with the private sector, the national and county governments to identify export markets for farmers.
USAID says it will work with small holder farmers in remote areas by providing them with over a thousand quality seedlings to improve productivity.
“Bearing in mind that the productivity of old trees like avocados and mangoes has gone down, we as KDCMS will provide quality seedlings so that by the end of 2023 they will be able to produce more than 100,000 seedlings,” said Mwadime.
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.
Nathan, a farmer from Kitui County venturing in the production of cowpeas and green grams said they have been grappling with issues of hunger and manual mixture of pesticides and insecticides using their bare hands.
However after working with KCDMS since 2012 the tones of production of the farm produce have increased.
“The project has been helpful since 2012 and Kitui being a semi-arid county, we have seen a lot of changes .KCDMS has provided us with modern machines used in ploughing in the stead of cows that they use,” he said.
Under the KCDMS project, farmers will have easy access to fertilizers at an affordable rate and offer a better alternative to soil treatment and seeds by small holder farmers.
USAID is also keen on creating employment by empowering farmers and offering them with training in various projects such as poultry farming where they are guaranteed a stipend of about Ksh 25, 000 every month.
Qualifying farmers are also set to benefit from improved agricultural technologies and management practices that will foster food security and climate-smart technologies to diversify their diets through consuming healthy and indigenous foods.
KDCMS further targets to promote and support production, processing and marketing of seeds for drought tolerant crops (DTC).
Story by Sally Namuye.