Women, youth in eight counties in Kenya to benefit from Agribiz program

Women and youth doing agribusiness in Kiambu County are a happy lot after the county government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to empower them.

Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) signed the MoU with the county at the Kiambu County headquarters, to accelerate the engagement of women and youth in agribusiness.

The Agribiz program, being funded by the European Union (EU) and Denmark will start in eight counties including Kiambu, Isiolo, Kilifi, Machakos, Meru, Kisii, Bungoma and Uasin-Gishu before being rolled out to other counties.

The program will see the establishment of a business incubation hub (BIH) to be based at Waruhiu-Agriculture Training Centre in Githunguri Sub-county. It is set to be operational before the end of November, 2020.

Quality of life

The EU Ambassador to Kenya Mr Simon Mordue said investing in agriculture is the best and sustainable way of mitigating hunger and poverty.

“Agriculture is a prerequisite to improving the quality of life for millions of households, not just in Kiambu and the surrounding counties, but also in the country. Our commitment as EU is to continue supporting innovating agribusiness ventures through AgriBiz,” said Mr Mordue.

Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mr Ole Thanke expressed the need for the county to adopt modern agricultural techniques because agricultural patterns hinge precariously on a constantly changing climate.

Employment opportunities

Kiambu Governor Dr James Nyoro noted that he would support as many agribusiness enterprises as possible through this partnership.

“I also invite allied institutions to partner with us so that we can grow this program further and support more women and youth in the county,” said Mr Nyoro.

Edward Mungai the Chief Executive Officer at KCIC said AgriBiz will boost smallholder production, create employment opportunities and improve the nation’s food security.

This, he added, will supplement government efforts towards achieving the Big Four Action Plan and steering the country on the right course to achieving Vision 2030 goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Food security

Agriculture is the predominant economic activity in Kiambu County and contributes 17.4 per cent of the county’s population income. It is the leading sub-sector in terms of employment, food security, income earnings and overall contribution to the social-economic well-being of the people.

However, many smallholder farmers lack access to improved technical skills and markets.

AgriBiz, therefore, comes in to address capacity gaps, inadequate financing, minimal access to natural resources as well as the lack of enabling business environment for women and youth participation in agribusiness value chains.

Value chains

Beneficiaries will be trained and provided with business advisory as well as financing offered by KCIC.

The program will support 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises across Kenya and is projected to create 17,000 job opportunities.

Among the agricultural value chains identified in the county and surroundings for support include; crop husbandry, fisheries, livestock keeping, irrigation, transport, value addition and plant and animal disease control.

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