By Judith Gicobi
The World Bank has allocated a credit of $250 million (Sh28.7 billion) to help 500,000 small-scale farmers in Kenya who are involved in nine value chains.
The authorized International Development Association (IDA) funding will be used to help fund a new national agricultural value chain development project that will expand on the foundation laid by two previous World Bank-funded initiatives.
The National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project and the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project are the two programs, and they will each focus on a subset of farmers.
Dairy, poultry, fruits (banana, mango, and avocado), vegetables (tomato and potato), coffee, cotton, cashew nut, apiculture, and pyrethrum value chains are among the farmers targeted.
The new project, according to Keith Hansen, World Bank Country Director for Kenya, would open up new avenues for maximizing financial and private sector investments in the nine value chains through a variety of value chain investments.
“It will also enable initiatives such as improved subsidy targeting through e-vouchers and operationalizing warehouse receipt financing,” he said. The bank Keith added, “Will engage intensively with private sector value chains to crowd in investments in agri-business opportunities such as input supply, access to finance for farmers and small and medium enterprises.”
The project, according to Keith, will strengthen existing investments in productivity enhancement, community-led farmer extension, water management, and data-driven value chain services, as well as introducing intensified investments in certain value chains.
The implementation of the digital agriculture initiatives, farmer-led irrigation development initiative, and safer urban food systems initiative, according to Vinay Vutukuru, Senior Agriculture Economist and Task Team Leader, is inventive and will give insights for future World Bank initiatives in these areas.
“Under the urban food system pilot, climate smart agriculture technologies will be promoted and scaled up for urban and peri-urban farmers and market linkages between rural producers and urban consumers will be strengthened,” he added.