Isiolo County has partnered with Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) to set up Business Incubation Hub (BIH) under the AgriBiz programme funded by the European Union and Denmark to boost its agribusiness sector.
Under this partnership, Isiolo county joins other six counties who are also benefiting from the Ksh 5.1 billion programme with the aim of boosting the agribusiness sector among the counties given the value agribusiness holds towards the economy and overall GDP of the country.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, the County Governor of Isiolo, H.E Dr. Mohammed Abdi Kuti said that, “The 5-year programme is modeled towards promoting agriculture in the region and so we are happy to be partnering with KCIC.”
Agriculture is a key factor towards the county’s economy, being an important source of income, savings, and social status for the population. According to the Climate Risk Profile Isiolo County report by Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project and World Bank Group, over 80% of the inhabitants rely on livestock for their livelihoods and less than a third (26%) practice agro-pastoralism. Unfortunately, Food insecurity is a major challenge for the county. It is largely driven by low agricultural productivity, prolonged drought and high temperatures, low and erratic rainfall, periodic outbreaks of livestock pests and diseases, poverty, and conflicts.
Due to this, the programme AgriBiz will play a key role in promoting blended financing to trigger sustainable growth and demystify concerns for youth and women in embracing farming as a business.
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Aside from the BIH which aims to help train and empower the beneficiaries of the agribusiness programme with key skills to grow their own enterprises, the programme also aims to help Isiolo county advance its agricultural potential by providing financing and capacity development assistance to youth and women-led Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
“This partnership is geared towards advancing agriculture in the region. We look forward to ensuring women and youth in the county view agriculture as a sustainable and scalable alternative,” Dr. Edward Mungai, CEO of KCIC has said.
The other counties that are set to benefit from the partnership between Isiolo and KCIC are Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit and Samburu counties.
The AgriBiz programme will support 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises and is also set to create of 17,000 job opportunities in the agricultural sector countrywide in the next five years.
The 200 candidates benefiting from the programme include early stage/start-up companies, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), women and youth-led community based organisations, as well as self-help groups.
The aim is to increase smallholder production, improve food security and boost household incomes.