Kenya, IFAD partner to enhance cereal production in semi-arid counties

Kenya and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Wednesday signed an agreement to finance the Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme – Climate-Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Window (KCEP-CRAL).
Ten thousand smallholder farmers, including women-headed households and young people whose livelihoods depend on maize, sorghum, millet and associated pulses living in eight eastern and coastal semi-arid counties of Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi will benefit from this programme.
The programme funding comprises a US$61.8 million loan, a $10 million grant from IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) and an additional $2 million grant from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for capacity-building and agricultural services for farming communities.
The new programme will help reduce rural poverty and food insecurity, which remain a major challenge for the Government of Kenya. It aims to increase rural households’ resilience to climate change, and will also help increase production of cereals and associated pulses. It will support smallholder farmers to identify and undertake appropriate, productive and climate-resilient crop practices suited for arid and semi-arid lands.
In addition, it will improve as well as stabilize productivity through adoption of good agricultural practices, conservation agriculture and better water conservation techniques. New business partnerships between smallholder producers and buyers will be promoted. Financing for storage and processing facilities will help to avoid post-harvest losses.
“This new programme will contribute to Kenya’s national objectives of food security and poverty reduction by supporting vulnerable farmers to increase the productivity and profitability of three main cereals – maize, sorghum and millet – which not only are traditional staple foods but also have great marketing potential,” said Nadine Gbossa, Head of Regional Office for East and Southern Africa and Country Director for Kenya. “KCEP-CRAL is a ground-breaking example of partnership between the Rome-based UN food agencies and other development actors such as the European Union and the private sector. The programme will support the graduation of vulnerable farmers from food insecurity to market-oriented farming, while putting in place sustainable natural resource management.”
IFAD will support smallholder farmers in addressing constraints on production, post-harvest management, processing and marketing. FAO will assist the farmer groups and county governments in adopting good agricultural practices, including conservation agriculture, while the World Food Programme (WFP) will provide support to food- and nutrition-insecure farmers. The European Union will provide additional funding through IFAD and FAO.
The financing agreement was signed in Rome by Josephine Wangari Gaita, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya, and by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
For the total cost of $118 million, KCEP-CRAL will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries of Kenya. It will be cofinanced by the European Union with a EUR 9.5 million grant, while the Government of Kenya is contributing $1.5 million and beneficiaries themselves are contributing $29.1 million. The remaining funding of US$1.9 million will come from the contribution of national financial institutions to be identified.
Since 1979, IFAD has invested a total of US$319.3 million in 17 programmes and projects in Kenya, which has generated a total investment of $659 million, benefiting 4,300,097 households.

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