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Nakuru farmers to benefit from multi-billion programme

The County Government of Nakuru is collaborating with the National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP) to increase market participation and value addition among more than 5,000 farmers through a Sh28.75 billion World Bank-funded initiative.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Leonard Bor said that the project will unlock new opportunities for maximising finance and private sector investments in the value chains through a range of investments, such as improved subsidies through e-vouchers and operationalizing warehouse receipt financing.

Speaking on Wednesday during a meeting to discuss plans for rolling out the farmers’ registration programme into NAVCDP, Bor said the initiative was focusing on farmers engaged in poultry, fruits (banana, mango and avocado), vegetables (tomato and potato), coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, apiculture and pyrethrum value chains.

He urged farmers across the devolved unit to register for the project, noting that it will create numerous opportunities for the county in terms of promoting agricultural development.

“By registering farmers, the county will be able to gather important data about agricultural activities and better understand the needs and challenges faced by farmers in the county,” the CECM said.

He noted that the meeting with the NAVCDP County Project Steering Committee marked a proactive and strategic approach by the county government to promoting agricultural development and growth.

The multi-billion World Bank-funded project is targeting at least 500,000 farmers in 26 countries, who are set to benefit from loans to be issued through International Development Association (IDA) towards bolstering market participation and value addition.

NAVCDP is a community-driven development project under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, that seeks to increase market participation and value addition for targeted small-scale farmers in Kenya who are spread across the 26 counties.

The counties to benefit include Nakuru, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Tana River, Kakamega, Busia, Kisii, Migori, Homa Bay, Narok, Bomet, Kericho, Nyandarua, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Muranga, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Embu and Nyeri.

While indicating that the project will engage private sector value chain actors, Bor said that the farmers’ registration process will involve the collection of various data points, including the farmer’s name, contact information, farm size, and crops grown, among others.

He assured farmers that their personal information would be treated with utmost confidentiality and used only to improve and provide targeted support.

County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara, Agriculture Chief Officer Newton Mwaura, Livestock, Fisheries and Veterinary Services Chief Officer Dr. Michael Cheruiyot and NAVCDP County Coordinator Peter Githunguri were present during the meeting to ensure collaboration between different sectors to ensure the successful implementation of the farmers’ registration programme.

The CECM observed that agriculture remains the lifeline of Kenya’s economy and the most significant contributor to its gross domestic product (GDP).

The sector, he added, contributes 25 percent to GDP directly and an additional 27 percent indirectly through links with manufacturing, distribution and related activities.

Bor was happy that the agricultural sector was increasingly becoming the largest employer in the country, accounting for over 70 percent of the total labour force, with one in five people in rural areas deriving their livelihoods from agriculture-related activities.

He affirmed that Governor Susan Kihika’s administration was committed to delivering strategic interventions that will make the agricultural sector a key driver in achieving the 10 percent annual economic growth rate expected under Vision 2030.

We are working to make the sector a key economic driver by putting efforts in place to increase food security, reduce poverty and offer competitive opportunities for farmers, especially smallholders,” assured Bor.

The CECM observed that value chain development was increasingly becoming a popular approach worldwide to increase the incomes of small producers and the economically active poor, adding that it was a key framework for understanding how inputs and services are brought together and then used to grow, transform or manufacture a product.

Taking a value chain approach to economic development and poverty reduction, the CECM explained that it involved addressing the major constraints and opportunities faced by farmers and producers, processors, traders and other businesses at multiple points along the chain.

County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara underscored the need for capturing accurate data about farmers for the county to be able to tailor its agricultural policies and interventions to the specific needs of the farming community.

He said the farmers’ registration initiative was a crucial step in promoting agricultural development in the county saying it will lead to increased productivity, improved access to resources and markets, and overall growth in the agricultural sector.

By Esther Mwangi

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