Trade , Industrialisation and Enterprise Development Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Karanja has disclosed that the government has set aside Sh 700 million to lend to small and medium scale entrepreneurs in addition to the existing Uwezo, youth and women enterprise.
He added the kitty will include a program to empower small scale farmers through distribution of fast growing fruit seedlings, such as ash avocado, oranges, Tangerines and Macadamia with the aim of boosting food security in the country.
Speaking in Badassa area, Saku constituency in Marsabit County on Monday, when he accompanied CAS agriculture Anne Nyaga to distribute the fruit seedlings, Mr Karanja said the loans would attract an interest of below 5 percent.
“The government will give the loans to the traders and especially the youth without collateral,” said CAS adding that training will be offered to successful applicants in order to build their expertise in business.
Mr Karanja said that the training would be a compliment to the skills being imparted at TVET institutions that are not only geared towards making youth employment secure but self-reliant as well.
Ms Nyaga who launched a general distribution of 5,000 seedlings of grafted avocado seedlings to farmers of Saku constituency for planting this rain season said the gesture was socio-economic intervention to mitigate against Covid-19 by President Uhuru’s administration.
The chief administrative secretary said the move was aimed at boosting food security at the household level while those who will expand could be supported to handle it at commercial level.
She expressed concern over complaints raised by residents over persistent destruction of their food crops by elephants and other wild animals straying from Marsabit game reserve, and assured that talks were at an advanced stage with the ministry concerned and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for a lasting solution to the problem.
According to the CAS, a survey was conducted to ascertain the extent of damage caused by the invasion of locusts in various parts of the county which wreaked havoc not only on crops but pasture as well, hence negatively affecting the locals’ source of livelihood.
Ms Nyaga assured that the government was working on a post locust recovery support for the residents, in order to bring normalcy in their lives and cushion them against the vagaries of dry weather being experienced in the region.
Also in attendance was the secretary administration in the ministry, Kerow Harsama and Marsabit Central Deputy County Commissioner, Patrick Muriira.
By Sebastian Miriti