Supporting Kenya’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda
AGRA is committed to continuing its support for Kenya’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda. This is the message that AGRA President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, delivered to Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto in a meeting last week at his Karen Office.
As a core partner to the government of Kenya for many years, the Deputy President welcomed Dr. Kalibata and a delegation from AGRA to discuss how AGRA can serve as a core strategic partner in delivering on the country’s priorities to advance and sustain its agricultural transformation.
Kenya has been and remains a focus country for AGRA. Since its inception, AGRA has made investments in Kenya and Kenyan organizations totaling more than USD 40 million. AGRA has invested in setting up seed systems and seed companies, fertilizer systems, markets, and improving agricultural finance. In particular, AGRA has helped train 24 PhD experts in plant breeding and agronomy, as well 8 Masters students in crop and soil science, and it has supported the KARLO breeding program to develop new, locally adapted seed varieties. It has supported the establishment and strengthening of seed companies and the development and training of more than 1,500 agro-dealers to support farmers’ access to inputs, so that nearly one million farmers are now using improved seed varieties and seeing increased yields. Among other things, AGRA has also made investments in Kenya to help enhance the fertilizer quality control system, improve markets for smallholder farmers, and enhance farmer-specific finance products, through partnerships like KilimoBiashara with Equity Bank.
Going forward, President Kalibata offered to continue to use AGRA’s technical expertise, understanding of lessons of what works from other countries, and targeted grant funds to help build on and sustain the gains Kenya has made in recent years. AGRA will continue supporting seed companies and seed systems with research, training, and capacity, particularly to help increase the country’s supply of seed nationally and in the region. AGRA will also work with actors like the Agricultural Finance Corporation to increase access to financing for farmers and agribusinesses in Kenya. It will also explore all other areas key to supporting Kenya’s agricultural transformation, including markets, value addition, ICT, and beyond.
The meeting ultimately marked the continuation of a strategic partnership between AGRA and the Kenyan government, and the AGRA President agreed that it will be following up with Deputy President Ruto very soon on support it can provide to Kenya’s agricultural development and potential agricultural leadership in the region and across the continent.