Government of Kenya, The European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the African Development Bank today launched a new programme which aims to create jobs for women and youth in the agricultural sector.
The Ksh 5.1 billion AgriBiz Programme, will fund 2,400 women and youth-led agribusinesses. It will also work with local financial institutions to leverage some Ksh17.6 billion in loans for agribusinesses. The programme will be implemented jointly with selected county governments and will establish eight Business Incubation Hubs (BIHs) to provide training, business advisory and financing to women and youth in agribusiness to promote sustainable exploitation of the natural resources base by encouraging appropriate agribusinesses practices.
Speaking during the launch of the Agri-Biz Programme in Nairobi, the Chief Administrative Secretary for Agriculture, Ms Anne Nyaga said "We welcome and fully support this initiative from the European Union, which is very much aligned with the Ministry's Agricultural Transformation and Growth Strategy 2019-2029 priorities. Concerted efforts are needed to empower rural youth and women to develop and implement sustainable solutions to difficult challenges facing rural farming communities, counter negative perception of the agricultural sector, and make it easier to access the land and other resources needed to engage in commercial agriculture."
The European Union Ambassador to Kenya, H. E. Simon Mordue added: "This programme is a timely intervention for the women and youth of Kenya. It brings to life the Europe-Africa Alliance which emphasizes a relationship between Europe and Africa that is based on sustainable investment and job creation. With more than 60% of the unemployed Kenyans being young people, AgriBiz will channel resources to a crucial sector that can absorb a majority of these unskilled and semi-skilled workers."
The Danish Ambassador to Kenya, H. E. Mette Knudsen said: “The AgriBiz programme holds a promise of sustainable and decent jobs for women and youth in agricultural value chains. It reflects the wishes for a more equal and greener future. For Denmark, it is key to promote gender equality and inclusive growth as well as support climate change adaptation and climate innovation. Sustainability must be at the heart of our engagements.”
"Indeed, this programme is going to unlock job opportunities for the youth and women towards achievement to the Big 4 Agenda on Food and nutrition Security and Manufacturing pillars. The alignment to the FAO strategic focus and the Government of Kenya is required and should be able to bring around the focus from ‘farm to fork’ but also to foster sustainable land and natural resource management for the future," added Dr Tobias Takavarasha, Country Representative of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The CEO of Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, Mr Edward Mungai hailed the new wave of innovation in Kenya. He said: “There is a silent revolution taking place in Kenya with hundreds of young people and women farmers abandoning traditional ways of farming in favour of innovation and technology and this is what this program will augment.”
The 5 year programme will be implemented by Denmark, FAO, the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Africa Guarantee Fund (AGF).
The Programme Budget of EUR 44.4 million is funded by the European Union through the European Development Fund (EDF): EUR 43 500 000, Denmark EUR 700 000 and FAO EUR 200 000.