By: EUNICE KILONZO
Dairy and fish farmers in the country will benefit from a Sh3.7billion loan by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) to boost their business.
The funds, set to be approved by the Ifad board in December, will be used to boost the ongoing smallholder dairy commercial program which will receive Sh1.7 billion while Sh2 billion will support the fisheries sub-sector.
Ifad President Kanayo Nwanze said during a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday.
President Kenyatta welcomed the support by Ifad saying such projects make agriculture more attractive to the youth.
“Agriculture has the potential of creating the much needed jobs for our youth. We have to put up projects that will attract the youth to venture into commercial agriculture as a source of their livelihood,” said President Kenyatta.
Fisheries Principal Secretary Micheni Ntiba said the support to the fisheries sub-sector would help create more jobs for the youth.
According to Agriculture Principal Secretary Sicily Kariuki, who was at the meeting, the approval of additional funding to Kenya by Ifad follows the successful implementation of several programs in the country.
She cited a Sh2.65 billion horticulture Marketing Program, which ended June 2015 as one of the successes of the Government-Ifad partnership.
As well as the funding of the Sh3.5billion Kenya Cereals Enhancement Programme, which started in 2014 and is set to end in 2017.
Adding: “The horticulture program benefitted 152,304 farmers, 547 Kilometres of rural access roads were improved and 28 horticultural markets were constructed in Bungoma, Kisii, Kericho, Bomet, Nandi, Embu, Meru, Nyandarua and Tharaka-Nithi.”
Livestock Principal Secretary Fred Segor said 277,480 dairy farmers from the nine high dairy producing counties of Nakuru, Bungoma, Bomet, Kakamega, Nyamira, Kisii, Nandi, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu benefitted from the Sh1.9 billion Ifad-funded Smallholder Dairy Commercial Program.
The program started in July 2006, ended in September this year.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION