Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Home > Agriculture > Gov’t to roll out Sh9.6 billion livestock commercialization project 

Gov’t to roll out Sh9.6 billion livestock commercialization project 

The government in collaboration with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has set aside Sh9.6 billion to establish the Kenya Livestock Commercialization Project (KeLCoP) to boost rural smallholder farmers’ incomes and enhance food and nutrition security.

State Department for Livestock will implement the programme in ten counties with a keen focus on the youth, women and marginalized segments of the population.

Livestock Principal Secretary, Mr Harry Kimtai, said the project is designed innovatively to attract youth to the agricultural sector.

“The youth are drifting away from agriculture and this project will offer incentives and grants for the group to showcase their talents in agriculture,” said PS Kimtai.

Mr Kimtai was speaking during a workshop organized for the County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) and Chief Officers in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the implementing counties at a Kisumu hotel.

Selected counties include Siaya, Busia, Bungoma, Elgeyo Marakwet and Samburu. Others are Kakamega, Nakuru, Baringo, Marsabit and Trans Nzoia Counties.

The 6-year project will focus on small ruminants, local improved breed poultry and bee-keeping value chains which have the potential to provide productive employment and food security opportunities for women and the young generation. In addition, dairy goat, sheep and goat meat farming will be explored.

Livestock commercialisation is intended to improve the opportunities for the rural poor small-scale farmers to enable them to increase their production, access markets and increase their resilience to economic and climate risks.

According to PS Kimtai, some 495,000 people will benefit directly and indirectly from the multi-billion shilling project.  In addition, 30 percent of the beneficiaries will be specifically targeted for nutrition interventions.

Aligned on the use of technology, the ambitious initiative intends to employ climate-smart production enhancement for the livestock sector, which involves electronic extension services, integrating vulnerable households into value chains, climate-resilient production systems, breed improvement, and animal health improvement.

In addition, the program will improve market infrastructure, capacity development, establish inclusive value chains and provide matching grants for marketing activities to support the livestock market development in the targeted counties.

PS Kimtai said the actualization of the project has come at the right time following the signing of the United Kingdom – Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement that provides a huge market for agricultural products.

“The Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and Enterprise Development has already identified foreign markets that we need to target. This project has been designed to be a commercialization program because we already know where we will take the farmers’ products,” the PS reaffirmed.

He further disclosed that following the bilateral trade agreement between the two countries, Kenya is expected to supply 18,000 metric tonnes of honey to the UK duty-free.

On their part, the Agriculture CECMs caucus has welcomed the project saying it will address some thorny issues like inclusivity by involving young people, women and indigenous folks, an issue that has affected most counties. In addition, the project requires small pieces of land because it deals with small livestock.

“Things about access and control of land which has been a big issue when it comes to investment by our youth and women now becomes a smaller issue. You don’t require a lot of land for you to commercialize,” said Maria Nzomo, CEC Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Development in Trans Nzoia County and Chair of the Agriculture CECMs caucus.

By Robert Ojwang’ and Chris Mahandara

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