By: IMMACULATE KARAMBU
Kenya has borrowed Sh4.3 billion ($39.55 million) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance small scale irrigation and value addition projects.
AfDB will also issue a Sh2.4 billion ($24 million) grant towards the same course, drawn from the bank’s Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.
The projects are aimed enhancing agricultural productivity, income and food security in rural communities.
“In terms of the Feed Africa concept, the project will increase yields of high-value horticultural crops such as green maize, French beans, onions, tomatoes, water melons and livestock products from poultry, sheep, goats and cattle for sale and household consumption,” said AfDB’s director for agriculture and agricultural output Chiji Ojukwu in a statement.
In the medium term plan between 2013 and 2017, the government is targeting modernisation of the agriculture sector to improve household welfare and increase levels of income.
The AfDB funded program will see 3,767 hectares brought under irrigation for 12 schemes for a combined 104,000 direct and indirect household beneficiaries, mostly women.
It also targets to secure 1,500 hectares of pasture, formation of livelihood groups involved in bee and poultry keeping, construction of 11 agro-market centres, and growing of 20 marketable commodities, among others.
Less than a month ago, Barclays bank set up an agribusiness unit meant to offer loans and consultancy, out of a Sh30 billion kitty that the bank recently set up for lending to small and medium term enterprises.
The lender said it will capitalize on its regional and global footprint to benchmark against best practices and develop solutions to boost performance of the agriculture sector.
“We have recruited a team of agricultural specialists who understand the variable and cyclical nature of agri-business to help us make flexible financial solutions that will cater for the entire value chain,” said Jeremy Awori, Barclays Bank managing director.
In September, Kenya received a concessionary loan amounting to Sh10.5 billion from Poland that will be utilised for procurement of equipment to be used in the agricultural sector.
The targeted equipment includes that for meat and milk processing, embryo transfer, veterinary, mobile grain dryers, storage silos and horticulture farming.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION