Boost for youth, women in agribusiness as Kenya signs Sh5.1bn deal with donors

Denmark, Food and Agriculture Organization, the Africa Development Bank and the Africa Guarantee Fund have signed a Sh5.1 billion agreement with Kenya to create jobs for women and youth in agribusiness.

The five-year deal will be co-funded by the European Union in Kenya.

The programme will establish eight incubation hubs across selected counties to provide support to climate-smart start-ups in agricultural value chains, the Danish embassy said.

The programme will fund 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness, the organisations said in a press statement.

“The AgriBiz programme holds a promise of sustainable and decent jobs for women and youth in agricultural value chains,” Ambassador Mette Knudsen said.

“It will also work with local financial institutions to leverage some Sh17.6 billion in loans for agribusiness,” a press statement read in part.

Agriculture CAS Anne Nyaga said the intervention is in line with the ministry’s Agricultural Transformation and Growth Strategy 2019-2029 priorities.

“Concerned efforts are needed to empower rural youth and women to develop and implement sustainable solutions to difficult challenges facing rural farming communities, counter negative perception of the agricultural sector, and make it easier to access land and other resources needed to engage in commercial agriculture,” Nyaga said.

EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue said the programme is a timely intervention for Kenyan women.

“It brings to life the Europe-Africa Alliance, which emphasizes a relationship between Europe and Africa that is based on sustainable investment and job creation,” Mordue said.

The EU envoy added that given 60 per cent of the unemployed Kenyans are the youth, AgriBiz will help create job opportunities by channeling resources in the agribusiness sector.

Kenya Climate Innovation Centre CEO Edward Mungai noted that women and youth are abandoning traditional farming ways and adopting innovation and technology, “and this is what this programme will augment”.

FAO Country Representative Tobias Takavarasha said the deal will help unlock job opportunities for youth and women towards the attainment of the Big Four objectives.

“The alignment to the FAO strategic focus and the government of Kenya is required and should be able to bring around the focus from “farm to fork” but also to foster sustainable land and natural resource management of the future,” Takavarasha said.

The programme will be implemented by FAO, Denmark, Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, AfDB and the Africa Guarantee Fund.

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