Twenty-six counties are set to benefit from a Sh28.8 billion (USD 250 million) World Bank value addition project targeting 500,000 small scale farmers in Kenya.
The funds in form of credit is expected to finance the small holder farmers across nine value chains to enhance value addition and access to markets for farmers engaged in dairy, poultry, fruits (banana, mango, and avocado), vegetables (tomato and potato), coffee, cotton, cashew nut, apiculture, and pyrethrum.
According to the World Bank, the approved International Development Association (IDA) finance is designed to support a new National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP) to build on the foundation set by two existing World Bank funded projects.
Beneficiary counties include include Kiambu, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Tana River, Kakamega, Busia, Kisii, Migori, Homa Bay, Nakuru, Narok, Bomet, Kericho, Nyandarua, Trans-Nzoia, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Meru, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Embu and Nyeri.
The two projects include the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) and the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) and will mostly focus on a subset of farmers drawn from these two projects.
Keith Hansen, World Bank Country Director for Kenya, said the project will unlock new opportunities for maximizing finance and private sector investments in the nine value chains through a range of value chain investments and other enabling initiatives such as improved subsidy targeting e-vouchers and operationalizing warehouse receipt financing.
“We will engage intensively with the private sector value chain actors to crowd in investments in agri-business opportunities such as input supply, access to finance for farmers and small and medium enterprises, digital extension services, farm gate infrastructure development and maintenance, storage and cold chains, insurance schemes and consumer retail,” Hansen added.
He stated that the project will further deepen investments in existing interventions around productivity enhancement, community led farmer extension, water management and data driven value chain services as well as introduce intensified investments into the select value chains.
It will also scale up value addition and market linkages with agribusiness off-takers and small and medium enterprises, support Farmer-Led Irrigation Development (FLID), enhance access to credit and support the rollout of urban food system pilots in selected clusters.
According to Vinay Vutukuru, Senior Agriculture Economist and the Task Team Leader, the implementation of the digital agriculture initiatives, farmer led irrigation development initiative and the safer urban food systems initiative are innovative and will provide insights for future World Bank initiatives in these areas.
“Under the urban food system pilot, climate smart agriculture technologies will be promoted and scaled up for urban and peri-urban farmers and market linkages between rural producers and urban consumers will be strengthened,” he added.
The project, whose selection of value chains and counties was driven by a multi-dimensional criterion, will also benefit other value chain actors at various levels such as extension workers, aggregators, and logistics support providers and SMEs operating within the value chain. (KNA)