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State partners with the private sector to scale up livestock production

The Government has partnered with the private sector, to scale up livestock production in the country.

Through the Kenya Livestock Commercialization Program (KeLCoP), the initiative targets to support farmers on improved indigenous poultry, dairy goats, honey and goat and sheep meat value chains.

The five year project, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Kenya to a tune of Sh9.4 billion targets to commercialize livestock production in 10 pilot counties.

State Department for Livestock Principal Secretary (PS), Harry Kimtai, said the move was set to boost incomes for over 110 households in the target counties.

“We picked these four areas because of the nature of the rural poor so that we increase their incomes,” he said.

Even though the project has also attracted grants from Heifer International for farmers rearing dairy cows, the PS said the government was reaching out to the private sector to rope in more farmers and ensure the project is sustained.

Speaking in Kisumu during the closure of a five-day synergy workshop with key partners from the private sector, the PS said the partnership targets to leverage and learn from the private sector’s comparative advantages, to achieve better results in the fight against hunger and poverty.

“We have had discussions with the private sector to see how they can support this program. We have engaged them on possible areas of collaboration and each one of them is going to pick an area that interests them,” he said.

Among the partners, he said, include Kenchic, KCB Foundation and a host of financial institutions which are set to inject capital in the venture to support farmers who are not covered in the project.

“We intend to borrow from the extensive research done by our partners like Kenchic to support our rural poor farmers to reach commercialization,” he said.

Kenchic Managing Director, Jim Tozer, lauded the partnership saying it will go a long way in improving the poultry sector in the country.

The Company which has been in the business for the last 40 years, he said, has a robust research and extension services department which will come in handy as the government moves to boost returns along the value chain.

Kenchic together with partners, he said, was already involved in housing and nutrition programs across the country, adding that the partnership with the government will help support more youths and women to actively venture into poultry farming.

KCB Foundation Head, Caroline Wanjeri, said farmers will be organized into cooperatives through which they will receive credit from the foundation to venture into the four areas under the project.

“We are strengthening our Mifugo ni Mali programme. We are going to work with these cooperatives and lend through them to support farmers beyond the project timeframe,” she said.

The goal, she said, was to come up with blended finance to reduce overreliance on grants and ensure the project is sustained.

The Kenya Livestock Commercialization Project (KeLCoP) came into force on 5th March 2021 and is expected to end on 30 September 2027.

The project’s overall goal is to contribute to the Government’s agriculture transformation agenda of increasing rural small-scale farmers’ incomes and food and nutrition security.

The project covers 10 Counties, including; Elgeyo-Marakwet, Baringo, Marsabit, Samburu, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Siaya, Nakuru and Trans Nzoia.

By Chris Mahandara

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