The European Union (EU) has unveiled a Sh5.1 billion programme to assist Kenyan agricultural ventures access training on innovations and entrepreneurship.
Under the deal, 200 agribusinesses selected for the programme will be trained in better agribusiness practices and provided loans to boost their businesses.
The advice will be provided to all selected agribusinesses through incubation hubs set up in eight counties which are Kilifi, Machakos, Kiambu, Meru, Isiolo, Kisii, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu.
The EU said yesterday the plan will benefit 200 women and youth-led enterprises over a five-year period leading to the creation of 17,000 jobs.
“It will increase smallholder production, improve food security and boost household incomes,” said the EU.
As part of the programme, the women and youth-led agribusinesses will be funded over a period of five years at a cost of Sh5.1 billion. An additional Sh17.1 billion in loans will also be sought from local financial institutions to support the enterprises, said the EU.
EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue said the plan would help boost the incomes of the enterprises but also promote sustainable agricultural practices.
“The huge interest in AgriBiz is an indicator that, contrary to popular opinion, women and youth are embracing agribusiness activities,” said Mr Mordue.
“By bringing in young people and women into the sector, and in the process creating over 17,000 jobs across Kenya, we are helping to boost the sustainability of the Kenyan agricultural sector and to move it up the value chain,” he added.
The 200 selected candidates include early stage or start-up companies, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), women and youth-led community based organisations, as well as Self Help Groups from around the country.
The Kenya Climate Innovation Centre which picked the finalists said the applications from women and youth-led agribusinesses selected demonstrated “the best scalability” and potential for replication and growth of their product or service.
“We are impressed that we have received an overwhelming response to the call from across the country, an indication there are so many agribusinesses out there seeking different forms of support to spur their growth,” said KCIC chief executive Edward Mungai at the close of the evaluation exercise.
Source: Business Daily