The AgriBiz programme addresses the key challenges that hinder youth and women from tapping into the immense potential that the agricultural sector offers and will help 2,400 agribusinesses owned and led by women and youth to grow. These enterprises will create 17,000 job opportunities along agricultural value chains and will increase smallholder production and household incomes. Improved agricultural production will have a positive ripple effect on food security, one of the pillars of the Government of Kenya’s Big Four Action Plan.
The funding for the programme, which is projected to cost Kshs 5.1 billion, will come from the European Union, Denmark (Danida), the African Development Bank (AfDB). The programme will be implemented by the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, jointly with eight selected county governments. Business Incubation Hubs will be set up in the 8 counties - Kilifi, Machakos, Kiambu, Meru, Isiolo, Kisii, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu.
The rollout of this programme has been slowed down by the spread of COVID-19. However, KCIC is now launching a call for applications to enlist women and youth wishing to start or expand an agribusiness enterprise. The guidelines and modalities of application can be downloaded from the website www.kenyacic.org .
The call will be open for a period of 21 days and will close on 22nd of May 2020. Those selected will have access to training, business advisory, mentoring and financing (grants, loans or a mixture of the two) to support and grow their business ideas. In providing these opportunities, the programme will help to kick start the economy, boost food provision and sustain rural livelihoods. Kenyans therefore have reason to look beyond the current crisis with renewed hope.
The EU Ambassador, Simon Mordue, commented: “The EU has encouraged all its implementing partners to adapt their strategy to the situation, especially by adopting digital technologies to continue supporting Kenyan farmers and entrepreneurs. We know there are many youth and women with excellent business ideas in Kenya, and we are happy that KCIC has found the way to bring technical and financial assistance to them, despite the current lockdown. This is a vital injection of life for the Kenyan economy and food security!”
The Denmark Ambassador to Kenya, Mette Knudsen reiterated: “Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many countries and their citizens on their knees, we must continue to build a worthy future for all Kenyans beyond the crisis. Denmark was the first donor to commit support to Kenya’s immediate response to the health crisis, but we must not forget the looming socio-economic crisis beneath. This call under the AgriBiz programme reminds us that no one should be left behind – now, more than ever, it is important to support the ambitions of women and youth in agribusiness,”.
Speaking about the programme Edward Mungai, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Climate Innovation underlined: “At this time when job opportunities are shrinking, we want to give hope to women and youth by engaging them in the AgriBiz programme and hence create badly needed jobs. Our aim is also to increase agricultural productivity and boost food security in Kenya”.
The PS for Agriculture, Prof. Hamadi Boga, stated: “The average age of the Kenyan farmer is 60, while that of the consumer is 17. It is important that all stakeholders work together to bring more youth in the agriculture value chains. Opportunities for youth engagement exist, and the Ministry of Agriculture recently launched the Youth in Agribusiness strategy to guide stakeholders on how to bring youth into mainstream business”.