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Kenya-UK ink Sh31 billion pact to boost Food Security

The Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry (MITI) in partnership with a UK-based firm, United Green Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to enhance food security in Kisumu County.

The signing of the historic agreement envisages direct investments of Sh.31 billion in various crop value chains in the lakeside region. The milestone was witnessed by MITI Cabinet Secretary Mr. Moses Kuria and Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o in London, United Kingdom on Wednesday.

In a communique released to the newsrooms Thursday, Nyong’o stated that the MOU commences a long-term collaboration in boosting agricultural production and trade in agricultural commodities.

“This is a landmark joint venture that will change the food security situation in the country significantly,” read the statement in part. The initiative is also geared towards revitalizing production in rice, cotton, dairy and fish sub-sectors.

The private investment company and other partners have proposed to start the pre-production activities in July 2023. The sustainable agri-food project will offer modern integrated crops, high-productivity climate-smart farming, and modern agro-industrial processing systems in the country.

Nyong’o expressed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its part of the bargain by availing land required for the project. The five years’ project, he underscored, brings forth an enormous potential for employment opportunities to the many locals residing in the catchment areas.

“The objective is to deliver both highly attractive economic returns, positive environmental and social outcomes within rural communities, and maintaining a constant supply of high quality, nutritious, and safe agricultural commodity and consumer branded products for the Kenyan market,” stated the Governor.

On his part, Kuria stated that the venture would be a leading strategic player in the development of Kenya’s high-potential agricultural sector.

In his remarks during the signing, Kuria expressed the government’s commitment to supporting the initiative by removing the bottlenecks to ensure it kicks off by quarter 1 of the next Financial Year.

Further, he pledged to enhance collaborations between Kenya and the UK to leverage the two nations’ growth potential in the scope of trade and investment exchange programs.

Through the programme, 100,000 hectares of primary farms around Lake Victoria would be integrated to create a smallholder farmer scheme to boost productivity and offer support for sustainable farming methods.

At the same time, it will guarantee the financial security of the farmers by facilitating off-take agreements so that farmers can focus on production. The county projects to incorporate over 20,000 rural households in the program and creation of at least 5,000 indirect jobs upon its full implementation.

By Robert Ojwang’

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