Kenya has received $39.55 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support small-scale irrigation projects, expected to improve yields, incomes and nutrition in rural areas.
AfDB’s agriculture and agro-industry Director Chiji Ojukwu said the funding would help reduce poverty by enhancing agricultural productivity, as it focuses on scaling up Kenya’s Small Scale Horticulture Development Project, which has already raised incomes to as high as $18,000 per hectare.
“The programme is aligned with Kenya’s Medium Term Plan (MTP-II 2013-17) to modernize its agriculture as well as promote improved household welfare and increased income levels,” he said.
According to Mr Ojukwu, post-harvest losses are expected to be halved to 20 per cent. He also added that, “In terms of the Feed Africa concept, the project will increase yields of high-value horticultural crops such as green maize, French beans, onions, tomatoes and water melons, and livestock products from poultry, sheep, goats and cattle for sale and household consumption”.
About 3,767 hectares are to be brought under irrigation in 12 schemes for 104,000 direct and indirect household beneficiaries (58 per cent women). The project will also see 20 marketable commodities grown, 11 agro-market centres built, 77 beneficiaries of trained in nutrition practices, gender sensitization, multiplication of seeds and development of 33 training enterprises.
Anchored in infrastructure development, value addition and capacity building, smallholder farmers, women and youth, the project is in line with AfDB’s 10-year strategy 2013-2022, especially its twin strategic objectives of inclusive growth and transition towards green growth.