The County Governors of Kisii and Uasin Gishu, H.E James Ongwae and H.E Jackson Mandago respectively, have signed an agreement with Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) to support a remarkable project that will accelerate wealth creation for the people in the two counties and the neighbouring areas. The project is designed to change the lives of young people and women in agribusiness by providing them with the opportunities to be creative and innovative.
This was made possible through the AgriBiz programme that is funded by the European Union (EU) and DANIDA. The main goal of the programme is to address capacity gaps, inadequate financing, minimal access to natural resources as well the lack of an enabling business environment for women and youth participation in agribusiness value chains.
Speaking during the two signing ceremonies held on Tuesday and Wednesday for Kisii and Uasin Gishu respectively, H.E Simon Mordue, EU Ambassador to Kenya said that the investment will help bring a new generation on the farms that appreciate agriculture as a challenging but rewarding business.
“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. This investing in agriculture will help bring a new generation on the farms that appreciate agriculture as a challenging but rewarding business,” Mordue said.
The MOUs stated that the entities will establish Business Incubation Hubs (BIHs) in the respective counties to provide training, business advisory and financing to women and youth in agribusiness. Being agriculture-focused counties, the two are set to benefit greatly from the programme which aims to enhance the capacity of youth and women-led enterprises.
The Danish Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Ole Thonke expressed that, “Agricultural development is up to four times more impactful than investments in other sectors for reducing poverty. Greater access to knowledge and tools means more productive farming, while greater productivity on the farm means more resources for education, health and other activities. Through rural transformation, rural people can drive economic growth, fight hunger and lift their own communities out of poverty.”
Beneficiaries of the programme will be trained and provided with business advisory as well as financing offered by KCIC. The County Governments will also work with KCIC to promote agribusiness ventures through inclusive polices to counter the challenges faced by enterprises in the sector.
Speaking on during the signing ceremony in Kisii, Esman Onsarogo, the County Executive Committee Member in charge of the agriculture department in Kisii County Government noted that agribusiness will be a big transformation for the people of Kisii and the neighbouring counties.
“Increased productivity in the agricultural sector will boost business in the County and bring wealth to the people of Kisii. The AgriBiz project is a step towards enhancing food security in the country which goes in tandem with President Kenyatta’s Big 4 agenda. Our administration has already started a training for agricultural officers in the county which is set to happen from tomorrow.”
This collaboration will build the capacity of community people to conduct farming as a business, transforming subsistence farming into commercial farming which will effectively enhance development in the county
Making remarks at the event, the County Governor of Uasin Gishu said, “We stand ready to collaborate with KCIC to ensure that the goal of this initiative is met. Most of the youths living in the rural areas experience several barriers, and we are calling them to take advantage of this programme and promote the establishment of a sustained and competitive agricultural value chain in the county. This project is ideal for the development of this county and the surrounding regions.”
On his part, Dr. Edward Mungai, the Chief Executive Officer at KCIC has said, “Kenyans in the agricultural space are always working to innovate new things to better their lives. This program will truly bring the youth and women in agribusiness a ray of sunshine.”
The AgriBiz programme will support 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises across Kenya. It is projected to create of 17,000 job opportunities.