Kenya is set to reduce its dependence on food imports by $200 million (Sh26 billion) every year following the signing of a deal with British-based investment group United Green Group (UG).
Under the agreement, the group will deliver Agri-fin-tech services for rural communities, high-productivity climate-smart farming and state-of-the-art agro-industrial facilities over the next five years.
This comes at a time Kenya’s food imports bill in the first nine months of last year hit a record high since 2017 driven by a major drop in local production due to prolonged drought.
“The investment will support the Kenyan Government’s strong commitment to agricultural transformation, increased productivity and output, and inclusive growth of local agriculture and associated industries,” said Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.
The deal via a local joint venture with Kenyan company Victoria Green Invest will adopt a rigorous development in agriculture targeted at contributing materially to food security in the region.
It is expected that high-value crops such as rice, cotton, sunflower, soybean and maize will generate foreign exchange with a focus on feeding local consumer and industry demand.
The deal was signed between Mr Kuria, Kisumu County Governor, Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, and United Green Group Chief Investment Officer Albrecht Frischenschlager.
“We are proud to have found such committed foundation partners and identified potential additional partnerships with international DFI’s and look forward to building a national champion business in the sector together,” said Mr Frischenschlager.
The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that Kenya’s food import bill rose 18 percent to Sh183.93 billion in nine months from Sh155.42 in a corresponding period in 2021.
This is the highest figure recorded in a year’s first nine months since 2017 when the bill stood at Sh185.22 billion pointing to heightened food imports during the election period.