An ambitious new project that will create markets for up to 100,000 farmers, and thousands more jobs, was launched by Self Help Africa in Kenya, last month.
The €24 million project, funded by the European Union and Slovak Aid, will allow thousands of small farmers and entrepreneurs in Kenya to scale up their business and move away from subsistence farming.
The project is part of the European Union’s Kenya-AgriFI programme that supports productive, adapted and market integrated smallholder agriculture. At its centre will be a grant making ‘challenge fund’, on which Self Help Africa will collaborate with fund managers Imani Development.
A five-years innovative scheme, the Kenya Initiative for Long-term Integration of Market Operators in Value Chains (KILIMO-VC) promote farming as a business, with an emphasis on supporting environmentally sustainable farming practices.
Through a Challenge Fund consisting of grants and loans, the scheme aims to allow farmers, cooperatives and small enterpreneurs to access climate-smart agricultural training, develop their skills, improve quality standards, and invest in equipment, marketing and branding for their businesses.
The initiative takes a Gender Transformative Approach – with barriers to women’s participation overcome through access and control of resources. Training will be delivered to both farmer organisations and community-based structures.
Rebecca Amukhoye, Self Help Africa’s Country Director in Kenya, said: “We’re always looking for opportunities that we can level the gender field in our work in sub-Saharan Africa, and this new initiative will do just that. There will be many new opportunities provided for women, as well as young people, who are also often excluded from the agricultural value chain. This project offers support at all levels – from supply, production, aggregation and processing, marketing and retail.”
“There are so many benefits to this ‘whole of value chain’ approach. It increases resilience of vulnerable farming families and helps them withstand disasters and crises, that may otherwise have wiped out their entire food supply, as well as improving their overall food security, nutrition and of course income.”
The ambitious project will embrace a collaborative approach, with leadership and management from Self Help Africa and technical support from Imani Development. Applicants to the Challenge Fund are expected to consist of micro, small and medium enterprises, cooperatives, NGOs and other firms.
Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in Kenya as well as other local Kenyan trade platforms representing agri-enterprise actors are involved in the programme.
KILIMO-VC is a part of the Kenya AgriFi programme, subject of the television interview above.