The idea is to create at least 17,000 jobs across the two counties in the next four years and to cement agriculture as a lucrative business for the youth.
Farmers in Uasin Gishu and Bungoma are set to benefit from the 5.1 billion shillings offered by the European Union (EU) and Denmark under the AgriBiz program.
The fund which is managed by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) will benefit individuals, self-help groups, and community-based organizations involved in various farming initiatives.
According to the KCIC boos, Dr. Edward Mungai, the idea is to create at least 17,000 jobs across the two counties in the next four years and to cement agriculture as a lucrative business for the youth.
The fund has already benefitted 200 youth and women in agribusiness activities in the two counties by providing proof of concept grants and results-based financing to assist the farmers in commercialization.
“In Uasin Gishu alone, we have supported over 111 farmers groups through funding of 10 million shillings, with 17 million shillings slated for disbursement before the end of September. The climate change organization has also set a business incubation hub at the AMS in Eldoret to further support farmers with incubation,” said Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno.
The deputy governor lauded the efforts by KCIC to support farmers noting that there is a significant output from the program.
“We are not only seeing new innovative agribusiness ideas coming up in county and showing interest in the AgriBiz program, but we have seen quite a number of direct and indirect jobs created from a number of ventures that have been supported,” he added.
Some of the farming initiatives that have been supported in the two counties include the production, processing, and marketing of products around crops, pigs, dairy, and fisheries value chains.
On his part, Bungoma County Governor Wycliffe Wangamati noted that the major gap in his county has been not only financing of agripreneurships as well as capacity building with technical support expedient for farmers to scale up.
“We have potential ideas, but they lack the requisite technical backup that includes access to information, linkages, and facilities, which the AgriBiz program is addressing,” Hon. Wangamati said.
In Bungoma, 82 farmers have been supported with technical support and financing worth more than 19 million shillings with 21 million shillings planned to be disbursed in the coming month.
The AgriBiz program targets rural and peri-urban youth and women who are underemployed and lack the financial resources and know-how to create viable sustainable businesses.