KENYA – In an endeavor to bolster food security in Kenya, the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has initiated a comprehensive five-year project.

The project, dubbed the National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCPD), is co-funded by KALRO, the World Bank, and other partners.

According to the Director General Dr. Eliud Kireger, the initiative will receive a substantial investment of Sh.3.5 billion over the five-year period.

It will encompass 33 counties in Kenya, which are expected to contribute approximately Sh.20 billion collectively during the same period.

Kireger, during the project’s launch, held at the KALRO station in Naivasha, outlined that the overall objective of the project is to transform the agricultural sector by concentrating on smallholder farmers and facilitating their transition from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture through value addition.

“KALRO will harness technology to provide essential information to farmers, including market insights, agro weather patterns, planting materials, and high-quality livestock breeds,” Kireger explained.

He touched on the significance of technology in empowering farmers referencing an improved Kienyeji (indigenous) poultry breed designed to enhance meat and egg production among smallholder farmers.

KALRO has already made significant strides by registering five million smallholder farmers in its system, with plans to extend its reach further across the country.

Kireger emphasized that this registration enables real-time information dissemination to farmers, a pivotal factor in the project’s success.

Dr. Felista Makini, KALRO’s Deputy Director General for Crops and Research, reiterated the institution’s commitment to enhancing the value addition of the targeted value chains through processing.

“We will establish market linkages to enable farmers to derive more value from their agricultural activities,” Makini announced, “This initiative seeks to benefit women in rural areas significantly, as they form the majority of smallholder farmers and stand to improve their family’s food security and nutrition.”

Furthermore, the commercialization of farming and market linkages are expected to reduce imports and augment export earnings for Kenya.

As stated in the launch, KALRO is collaborating with licensed seed processors to ensure an adequate supply of high-quality planting materials for farmers.

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