Delegation of the European Union to Kenya

Food Security: EU support for Kenya's "Big Four" development priorities

06/09/2018 - 00:00
Agriculture and Food Safety

The European Union is providing more than €200 million of financial support for Kenya's agricultural sector, food security and resilience to climatic shocks

Agriculture and fisheries

Smallholder farmers and pastoralists are still the backbone of many of Kenya's local economies and communities, with about 75 percent of Kenyans deriving all or part of their livelihoods from agriculture.

The European Union is the market for 87 percent of Kenya's agricultural exports, but requires high standards of food safety that can be difficult for exporters to meet. To be competitive, both the quantity and quality of Kenya's agricultural production need to improve.

To help Kenya's farmers and value chains to supply both the domestic (Kenyan) and export (European and other) markets with the high-value products that they demand, the European Union is financing:

  • the €12 million standards & market access programme to enhance Kenya's food safety, quality and trade, implemented by four agencies: the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, the Department of Veterinary Services, and UNIDO;
  • the €100 million agrifi programme (of which the EU finances €95 million) to help Kenya's smallholder farmers and pastoralists gain better access to finance and to value chains, implemented by Self Help Africa;
  • €1 million for livelihood diversification through sorghum and green gram value chain development, implemented by Food and Agricultural Research Management;
  • €4.6 million for strengthening the competitiveness of the cassava value chain, implemented by Self Help Africa;
  • a €2 million coffee productivity project, implemented by the Coffee Research Foundation.

In addition, the European Union funds agricultural and fisheries programmes and projects that aren't as closely related to value chains and market access. These include:

  • €9.9 million for two programmes of support for agricultural policy work, implemented by GiZ and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency;
  • €867 thousand for the provision of laboratory equipment, implemented by Agmin Italy Srl;
  • €500 thousand to support the participation of African nations in sanitary and phytosanitary standard-setting organisations, implemented by the African Union;
  • €29 million for reinforcing African veterinary governance, implemented by the African Union, the Office International des Epizooties and the African Union;
  • €3.5 million for a pilot project for strengthening veterinary services in developing countries, implemented by the African Union, the Office International des Epizooties and the FAO;
  • €13 million for an African reference laboratory for the management of pollinator bee diseases and pests, implemented by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology;
  • €19 million for the livestock development strategy for Africa, implemented by the African Union and the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources;
  • €14 million for capacity-building for conservation and sustainable use of African animal genetic resources, implemented by the African Union;
  • a €5.4 million programme to help support the sugar sector (mainly by upgrading key road infrastructure), which was completed in May 2018;
  • €10 million of financial support for the land reform programme, which is implemented by the FAO;
  • €833 thousand to enhance governance in the fisheries sector in africa, implemented by the African Union;
  • €425 thousand for technical assistance to the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources concerning fisheries governance in Africa, implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets;
  • €2 million for "rich fisheries, poor fisherfolk" in Suba, implemented by Africa Now.


Food security

Climate change is undercutting people's food security in arid and semi-arid (ASAL) areas of the country (which represent some 80 percent of Kenya's territory). To help sustain their livelihoods of the 4 million people who live there, the European Union supports:

  • a €1 million programme to improve food security policy for dryland areas by strengthening local participation in the policy processes, implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature;
  • the Integrated Biological Control Applied Research Programme to promote the use of "push-pull" conservation agriculture in semi-arid areas, with €12 million funding from the European Union (following its €2.9 million for the earlier "Adopt" programme), implemented by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology;
  • an agricultural productivity research project (total funding €8 million, of which €4 million is from the European Union) for Kenya's arid and semi-arid areas, implemented by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute;
  • the Kenya Climate-Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods programme (also known as the Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme) is supporting smallholder farmers in the country’s productive semi-arid areas by promoting good agricultural practices and conservation agriculture. The European Union is providing €27 million in financial support, and jointly developed the programme together with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the FAO;
  • reviving the ASAL economies through livestock opportunities and improved coordination, with €6 million funding from the European Union, implemented by the FAO;
  • Samburu pastoralists' livelihood improvement, with €2 million funding from the European Union, implemented by World Vision Kenya;
  • €769 thousand for strengthening livelihoods of rural agro-pastoralists in in Kitui County, implemented by the Comitato Europeo Per La Formazionee L'Agricoltura;
  • €1.7 million for value chain development for pastoral communities in Turkana, implemented by Oxfam;
  • €9.5 million for increasing the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in productive semi-arid areas through up-scaling good agricultural practice and conservation agriculture, implemented by the FAO;
  • €1.2 million for reducing the vulnerability of Turkana communities by raising their capacity for product development and value addition and enhancing market access, implemented by Terra Nuova;
  • €1 million for reducing vulnerability to drought and improving agricultural productivity in Wajir County, implemented by the Kulmiye Pastoral Association;
  • €1.7 million for agricultural development in north-eastern Kenya, implemented by Mercy Corps Europe.

Also, linked to food security, are a number of EU-funded projects to support nutrition. But, as so many of these are also linked to maternal and child health, they're discussed on the webpage related to healthcare.


Climate change resilience

Climate change is reflected in increasingly frequent droughts and possibly also to more intense rainfall (which can lead to destructive flooding) during non-drought years. So, as well as supporting agricultural livelihoods in the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya, the European Union is helping to improve food security through work that strengthens the country's resilience to climate change. This assistance includes:

  • a €31 million water towers programme, which is aimed at conserving and restoring forest cover in the water catchment area straddling the watershed between Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana. These natural "water towers" are vital for supplying water to much of the rest of Kenya: without them, the cycles of drought and heavy flooding could be more devastating. (However, the water towers programme is currently suspended.);
  • a €45 million programme of support to the National Drought Management Authority for disaster prevention and preparedness;
  • €1 million for enhancing drought-mitigation measures in arid lands, implemented by Associazione Internazionale Volontari Laic;
  • water and sanitation services for the ASAL areas, with €6 million funding from the European Union, implemented by the Danish International Development Agency;
  • €1.7 million for improving drought response resilience through community action, implemented by Tierarzte Ohne Grenzen.
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