Close to 200 agri-businesses responded to the first funding call issued by a new project seeking to create profitable new markets for over 100,000 rural poor farming families in Kenya.
Crop producers, processors and service businesses in the agriculture, fisheries and food sectors in Kenya responded to the launch of the AgriFi Kenya Challenge Fund, a groundbreaking new Self Help Africa project that will invest €18m in agri-enterprise development in the coming years.
Backed by the European Union and Slovak Aid, the AgriFi Kenya Challenge Fund is seeking to establish viable new markets where 100,000 smallholder farmers and pastoralists in Kenya can sell their produce.
AgriFi Kenya estimates that the fund will provide investment and support to over 50 agri-enterprises, and create approximately 10,000 new jobs in Kenya’s agri-food sector.
More than a dozen companies are being shortlisted in the first round of applications, with AgriFi expected to allocate a total of up to €6m in funding to successful applicants. Business proposals must have match funding in place. In 2018, Self Help Africa was awarded the contract to implement the European Union initiative, providing investment support to agri-businesses as a means to creating new markets for smallholder agriculture in
Self Help Africa is managing the fund, which is being implemented in parallel with a planned European Investment Bank (EIB) facility being provided to local banks.
AgriFi Kenya project manager Jenny Lofbom said that the response to the first funding call was heartening, and had received many strong submissions from different stakeholders within the agriculture sector, including from private businesses, agricultural cooperatives and others.
The project runs until 2022.