Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development in conjunction with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched a Sh9.46 billion project to benefit small holder farmers in 10 counties in the country.
The project which has been named; Kenya Livestock Commercialization Project (KELCOP) will be implemented in the counties of Nakuru, Busia, Marsabit, Samburu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and Kakamega among others over a period of six years.
Agriculture Ministry Cabinet Secretary Mr. Peter Munya says the project is set to benefit 11,000 farmers in the fore-mentioned counties mostly women and youth in selected areas of in those counties.
The project will empower the farmers and pastoralists by increasing their resilience and adaptation to climate change, increased productivity and use of Information Communications Technology (ICT). The farmers will also benefit from scaling up of e-extension services, e-finance models and market information.
Munya adds the project is informed by the lessons and best practices learnt from other similar projects implemented by IFAD in Kenya and other countries.
The project is being financed by a loan from IFAD to the tune of Sh5.5 billion while the Government is putting in Sh1.9 billion. The benefitting farmers will also put in Sh1.9 billion among other financiers.
The project will target the value chains of dairy and meat, goats and sheep, poultry and bee keeping which have a potential to provide employment to the youth and provide sustainable livelihoods as well taking into consideration matters conservation.
The KELCOP project will give a comprehensive support to poor and woman- headed households and youth with the sole intention of enhancing their economic status.
IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in developing countries.
Kenya has a vibrant livestock sector that accounts for about 4.4 percent of the country’s GDP.
As of 2020, Kenya’s cattle stock stood at 21.7 million heads. In the previous year, 20.9 million heads of cattle were kept for breeding or raised either for draft purposes or meat, eggs, and dairy production. The country’s animal population comprises 18.8 million cattle (14.3 million beef cattle and 4.5 million cows), 26.7 million goats and 18.9 million sheep, 3.2 million camels, 44.6 million poultry, 1.9 million donkeys, 0.5 million pigs among others.
Also present at the function were Principal Secretary State Department for Livestock Mr. Harry Kimutai and IFAD Country Director Ms. Mariatu Kamara.
By Mabel Keya – Shikuku