Eight local-based small scale enterprises have been awarded Sh460 million by AgriFi to support their business expansion and create new employment opportunities.
The agri-business firms that benefitted are involved in the production and processing of coconut, sorghum, soya, mango and dairy products.
The recipients of the award also include manufacturers of solar-powered irrigation systems, providers of agri-transport leasing and the producers of bio-fertilisers, who were awarded through the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund.
The programme, funded by the European Union and SlovakAid, will see the eight companies reach 50,000 smallholder farmers and create 3,800 jobs.
Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga lauded the AgriFI initiative for supporting agriculture and in particular agri-enterprises who have had difficulties in accessing financial support from banks.
“At the ministry we welcome initiatives to bridge the financing gap in the agriculture sector and to involve the private sector in supporting agriculture,” he said.
The AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund supports productive and market-integrated smallholder agriculture through the provision of financial support worth 8 million euros to agri-enterprises.
The aim is to contribute to improvement in the capacity of smallholder farmers/pastoralists to practise environmentally-sustainable and climate-smart agriculture as a business in inclusive value chains.
Additionally, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing long term local currency financing to Equity Bank (Kenya) Limited for on-lending to eligible food and agriculture sector projects. This facility is also available for match funding to the successful applicants.
The Challenge Fund is part of the wider AgriFI programme funded under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to unlock, accelerate and leverage investments within value chains.
The companies that have so far received grant funding support from the AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund include Coconut Holdings Ltd, Olivado EPZ Ltd, Premier Foods Ltd, Ndumberi Dairy Farmers Co-operative, Transu Ltd, Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Ltd, Sunculture Kenya Ltd and Real IPM Company Ltd.
The Fund aims at providing financial support to 50 companies thus, creating markets for over 100,000 small-holder farmers and pastoralists and creating more than 10,000 new jobs.
The EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue, while congratulating the awardees for receiving the competitive support, acknowledged EU’s longstanding relationship with Kenya in furthering the country’s development agenda.
“What is most remarkable is that the eight selected companies in different sectors will positively impact over 50,000 smallholder farmers and strengthen different value chains thus increasing incomes for farmers,” he said.
Self Help Africa’s Kenya Country Director Rebecca Amukhoye acknowledged the significant financial contribution made by the European Union and SlovakAid in supporting the initiative, and thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for the implementation of the programme.