Bungoma will become the first county to set up one of eight agribusiness incubation hubs funded by the European Union and Denmark.
The county government and the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC), the Sh5.1 billion AgriBiz programme implementer, have signed a memorandum of understanding to support women and youth-led enterprises.
The Agricultural Training Centre will be based at Mabanga where beneficiaries will receive training, business advisories, mentorship and financing (grants, loans or both) to support and grow their business ideas.
The centre is expected to be operational by the end of November 2020.
“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 startups to improve their agricultural productivity, contribute to food security and nutrition as well as having better market linkages,” Bungoma County Governor Wycliffe Wangamati said.
Beneficiaries in the county will include those in poultry, sweet potatoes, dairy, horticulture, soya production, among others.
“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,’’ KCIC chief executive Edward Mungai said.
Other counties that will benefit from the deal are Kilifi, Machakos, Kiambu, Meru, Isiolo, Kisii and Uasin Gishu.
The five-year programme was launched in March jointly by the Kenyan government, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the African Development Bank and is expected to benefit 2,400 women and youth-led enterprises, creating 17,000 jobs.
Already KCIC has picked 200 beneficiaries which 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, who are receiving support from its hub based in Strathmore University in Nairobi.