Youth and women-run agribusinesses in Machakos County are set get funding and technical support under Agribiz Programme in order to expand their ventures.
This follows the roll out of the programme by the County Government of Machakos and Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) through a memorandum of understanding signed by Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua and KCIC CEO Edward Mungai.
The deal is part of the KSh 5.1 billion AgriBiz programme launched earlier this year targeting Kenya’s food basket counties and funded by the European Union and Danida.
The project that is implemented by KCIC targets to create 17,000 jobs in Kenya from the 2,400 youth and women-led enterprises that it will support.
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“The AgriBiz programme will help ensure agriculture is successful and profitable in Machakos. As a county, we are happy to enter into this partnership as we believe it will elevate our farmers’ livelihood and the economy at large,” said Dr. Alfred Mutua.
Machakos is the fourth county to sign the agribusiness MoU with KCIC after Kiambu, Bungoma, and Meru
The EU Ambassador to Kenya, Simon Mordue has applauded Machakos County on the step saying, “Too often, the image of farming is the end-to-end production of staple crops and livestock, often as hand-to-mouth subsistence farming as most farmers do not treat agriculture as a business. Investing in agriculture will help bring a new generation on the farms that appreciate agriculture is a challenging but rewarding business.”
As part of the project, incubation hubs will be set up in the participating counties, and will offer training, business advisory and financing to women and youth agri-preneurs.
“We must acknowledge that youth and women face special challenges in accessing business opportunities in agriculture. The AgriBiz programme is designed to identify appropriate entry points for youth and women along agriculture value chains. Unlocking these economic opportunities are critical to strengthening the sustainable agricultural sector and food security that will result in job creation and increasing incomes,” said Ole Thonke, the Danish Ambassador to Kenya.
The goal of the programme is to help modernise farming and livestock keeping among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), away from traditional inefficient practices towards innovation and technology-led practices.
Besides minting jobs, the campaign will help move Kenya closer to food security. Agriculture contributes to nearly a third of its GDP and employing over half of the working population, according to data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
On his part, Edward Mungai said that the project will also be seeking to promote innovations in the entire value chain of animals and crops production. “Other than sun and water, Africa still has lots of arable lands and the availability of human resources for labor-intensive jobs, improved governance, investor guarantees and infrastructure will play a key role to bring a new wave in the agricultural sector.
As an organisation and with the support from our donors we look forward to supporting individuals and Community Based Organisations to fully exploit the untapped potential that lies with agriculture.”
AgriBiz will soon be opening the call for applications for Machakos Cunty agri-preneurs.