United Nations set to increase Kenya’s agriculture funding to Sh1 billion
The United Nations will increase Kenya’s agriculture funding to Sh1 billion to finance different sub sectors including the blue economy and rice industry in the Lake Basin Regional Economic Community (LBREC).
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Kenya representative Carla Mucavi said the funding will be increased from the current Sh700 million invested in seven fish and rice projects in the region.
She spoke when the agency and the Ministry of Agriculture launched aquaculture and rice projects in the LBREC to assist farmers affected by floods and Covid-19.
“Fundraising efforts are underway to increase funding to the region to Sh1 billion to finance various agriculture sub-sectors,” said Ms Mucavi.
She said the projects target the youth and women, who bear the brunt of the disruption by adverse weather and loss of employment due to the health pandemic.
The LBREC bloc comprises Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, and Vihiga counties.
“Globally, aquaculture production has increased by 30 per cent every decade for the past 50 years. African production represents a meagre two percent of world production, which is dominated by Asia, with Kenya only representing four percent of the African market,” said Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
Mr Munya said there are opportunities for young people whose movement from the region in search for employment has been curtailed by the Covid-19 safety restrictions.
With the new investment, it is expected that Bunyala Irrigation Cooperative Society will surpass the current rice production on 2,100 acres of land with an annual value of Sh110 million.
The country’s annual rice production at 160,600 tonnes falls short of national consumption at 1.05 million tonnes.
“We have a deficit of close to 986,000 tonnes that is largely met by imports from Pakistan and other countries,” he added.
About 80 per cent of rice grown in Kenya is from government established irrigation schemes, while the remaining 20 per cent is produced under rain-fed conditions.
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