Youth and women in different agriculture value chains in Machakos and the surrounding counties are set to receive a major boost after the AgriBiz programme conducted a sensitization forum to stakeholders in the agriculture sector at an event held at Machakos ATC.
The sensitization forum comes barely a month after Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua signed a memorandum of understanding with his counterpart Dr. Edward Mungai, the CEO of Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), introducing the programme into the county.
The sensitization forum is the fourth to be held in Kenya after Bungoma, Kiambu, Kisii and Meru held theirs. Similar fora are scheduled to take place in Isiolo, Uasin Gishu counties after the three counties signed similar MOUs. Kilifi is also slated to sign the MOU to introduce the programme in the coastal region.
AgriBiz will be opening Business Incubation Hubs (BIHs) in each of these counties. These are centers that will support the beneficiaries of the programme with funding and technical support. The programme is funded by EU and DANIDA at a cost of KShs. 5.1 billion aims at supporting 2,400 women and youth-led agribusiness enterprises across Kenya as well as creating 17,000 jobs.
KCIC Consulting Ltd has for instance worked with different clients to support them with automation especially in the fields of private sector development, sustainability, knowledge management and development communication. “We have had a number of clients approach us so that we can work with them to transform their companies to remain afloat post-coronavirus. What we encourage them with is that the future is already here and we must acclimatize to it,” Prabhakar Vanam, the CEO of KCIC Consulting explains. The uptake of digital transformation has been uptaken by many customers who find it more effective because they are able to access resources with a lot of ease and convenience.
Dr. Edward Mungai, who is also a sustainability expert, says that the programme will address challenges that have continuously hindered the development of agriculture in the country. “We aim to empower the beneficiaries of this programme with key skills to grow their own enterprises, be it an enterprise that is in the ideation stage of an SME, we will support it to grow steadily into viable and sustainable commercialization,” he noted. On his part, Dr. Alfred Mutua has called out to youth and women in the county to embrace the programme so as to empower their livelihoods. “My administration is committed to engaging in similar partnerships for the empowerment of our people. AgriBiz programme is an opportunity for those interested in different agricultural value chains to get funding and other forms of support while my government offers an enabling environment to ensure that we all succeed,” he said.
Speaking during the sensitization programme in Machakos County, the Chief Officer in charge of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperative Development department Damaris Mativo said that agriculture is on an upward trajectory in the county. “AgriBiz is a major boost to all of us noting that we are an agricultural county couple with industrious people. AgriBiz will not only assist us develop the agriculture sector but will also source for markets and transfer lots of knowledge to us.” Kenya Climate Innovation Center has also launched a waste management content in conjuction with What Design Can Do and IKEA Foundation where it is seeking innovations aimed at reducing waste and rethinking the entire waste production and consumption cycle. KCIC is also presently incubating enterprises in renewable energy, commercial forestry and water management besides the waste and agriculture sectors. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Big Four Agenda in Kenya.
A redacted version of this article was first published on KBC Channel 1 on https://www.kbc.co.ke/agribusiness-programme-machakos/