Bungoma County to engage in the ‘AgriBiz’ programme funded by EU and Denmark to support women and youth agribusiness
The County Government of Bungoma and Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) towards supporting women and youth agribusiness enterprises in Bungoma County and the broader Lake Region Economic Block. This is the first in a series of MoUs that KCIC will be signing with the selected counties.
This follows the launch of the AgriBiz programme in March, that will see a rollout of 8 Business Incubation Hubs in eight counties. By signing the MoU, Bungoma will be the first county taking active steps in supporting establishment of such hubs, specifically to be located at the Agricultural Training Center (ATC) based at Mabanga. Other pre-identified counties include Kilifi, Machakos, Kiambu, Meru, Isiolo, Kisii and Uasin Gishu.
AgriBiz is a five-year programme funded by the EU and Denmark (Danida) at a cost of Kshs 5.1 billion to support 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises across the country and lead to the creation of 17,000 job opportunities. Already, KCIC has onboarded 200 agribusiness enterprises, who are now receiving support from KCIC’s central Hub based at Strathmore University in Nairobi.The programme will impact positively on the national food basket by ensuring less waste, improved production efficiency and promote sustainable exploitation of the natural resource base, by encouraging appropriate agribusinesses practices.
While congratulating KCIC and Bungoma County on signing this MoU, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya, H. E. Simon Mordue said: "This programme is a timely intervention for the women and youth of Kenya. With more than 60% of the unemployed Kenyans being young people, AgriBiz will channel resources to a crucial sector to provide meaningful and quality job creation opportunities for them, in a high potential sector such as agribusiness."
The Danish Ambassador to Kenya, H. E. Ole Thonke said: “The livelihood of many Kenyans depends on agriculture. Improving the skills of youth and women in agribusiness enables them as skilled labour to access decent and sustainable jobs. The AgriBiz programme will contribute to transforming Kenya’s economy and the agricultural sector towards greener and more inclusive growth – this is a key priority for Denmark’s engagement in Kenya.”
By addressing the factors that hinder women and youth from participating in agribusiness initiatives, KCIC will provide beneficiaries with training, business advisory and financing services. The County Government of Bungoma will also work with KCIC towards the creation and promotion of an enabling environment that will enhance women and youth participation in agribusiness ventures in the county.
Edward Mungai, the Chief Executive Officer at KCIC said: “Bungoma is endowed with great agribusiness potential. By tapping into the potential of youth and women, our intention is to increase smallholder production that will have a ripple effect on household incomes and food security as envisioned in the government’s Big Four Action Plan.”
Potential value chains in the county that will receive support will include poultry, sweet potatoes, dairy, horticulture, soya production among others.
Bungoma County Governor, Wycliffe Wangamati, said: “As a county we are excited to sign this MoU under the AgriBiz programme. The programme will help the county as well as the surrounding counties to strengthen the ability of community-based self-help groups, Agri SMEs as well as start- ups to improve their agricultural productivity, contribute to food security and nutrition as well as having better market linkages”.
The AgriBiz programme will also create linkages to financial institutions to enable women and youth gain the much-needed capital to grow their enterprises. To fill the capacity gap, the programme will also work hand in hand with training institutions including agricultural training centers (ATCs).
The AgriBiz Business Incubation Hub at Mabanga is expected to be operational by the end of November 2020.
Learn more about the AgriBiz programme here: http://agribiz.kenyacic.org/
By Vincent Ogaya