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USAID Invests US$159.5M to Boost Dairy and Horticulture Sectors in Kenya, Empowering Farmers and Enhancing Productivity.

In a significant move to enhance agricultural productivity and alleviate poverty, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged a substantial investment of US$159.5 million in Kenya’s dairy and horticulture sectors. This investment aims to support farmers by fostering competitive, inclusive, and resilient markets through the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS) project.

Recognizing the crucial role of these sectors in reducing poverty and malnutrition, USAID Chief of Party, Robert Mwadime, highlighted the collaborative efforts between the organization, private sector entities, and the national and county governments to identify export markets for farmers. The project will particularly focus on smallholder farmers in remote areas, providing them with over a thousand quality seedlings to enhance productivity.

Mwadime emphasized the importance of addressing challenges such as drought and the high cost of inputs that have hindered agricultural productivity, especially in rural areas. By offering quality seedlings for crops like avocados and mangoes, the KCDMS project aims to increase yields and boost agricultural output. The project’s goal is to ensure that by the end of 2023, farmers will have produced more than 100,000 seedlings, ultimately improving their income and livelihoods.

This initiative aligns with ongoing efforts to support fish farming in Kenya. Earlier this year, Governor Anne Waiguru of Kirinyaga County implemented a program that provided free fish feeds to fish farmers in the region. The distribution of fish feeds and fingerlings enabled 335 fish farmers to enhance their aquaculture practices and meet the rising consumer demand for fish in the Mt. Kenya region.

Governor Waiguru emphasized the significance of diversifying agricultural activities to increase revenue streams for farmers. The support provided by the fisheries program, including free fishpond liners, fingerlings, and fish feed for six months, aimed to empower farmers to construct and maintain their fishponds, ultimately sustaining the project through the proceeds from harvests.

The growing popularity of fish farming and consumption beyond traditional regions like the Lake Victoria basin and the Coast is a testament to the increasing demand for fish products. Through strategic investments and initiatives like these, Kenya’s agricultural sector continues to evolve, empowering farmers and fostering economic growth.

The partnership between USAID and local stakeholders, coupled with targeted investments, is set to drive the dairy and horticulture value chains forward, ultimately transforming the agricultural landscape in Kenya and uplifting rural communities. As the KCDMS project and similar initiatives progress, farmers can look forward to increased productivity, improved market access, and enhanced resilience in the face of challenges, creating a brighter future for the agricultural sector in Kenya.

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