Over 140,000 people in Kenya, 60% of them women, are set to benefit from a five-year EU-funded programme, focused on strengthening the quantity, quality and marketability of cassava in the local and international market.
Agriculture CS, Willy Bett commended the EU for supporting the cassava project saying it is in line with the agricultural sector goal of achieving an average growth rate of seven percent per year through increased production levels. “This programme will go a long way in supporting our mission to ensure an innovative, commercially-oriented and modern agriculture by 2020 as stipulated in the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (ASDS),” said Bett.
The Strengthening the Competitiveness of the Cassava Value Chain in Kenya programme will help 28,000 smallholder farmers in seven counties acquire clean, quality planting materials and improve productivity and marketability of the food crop.
The programme is being launched through a grant of up to 6.5 million Euro to create 5,600 new jobs and increase access to credit for to least 50% of farmers and businesses active in the cassava value chain, in the target counties of Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, Siaya, Busia, Kitui and Kilifi.
Speaking during the launch of the programme, EU Head of Rural Development and Food Security, Klaus Gautsch said as a drought resistant crop, the cassava project will “Help to address the need for sustainable food and nutrition security, strengthen resilience to climate change, create job opportunities and increase incomes for smallholder farmers.”
“We see a real opportunity for cassava farmers not only because they will increase production for household cooking, but because this project will help to meet the growing demand for cassava products in the industrial food, beverage, livestock feed, and textile sectors,” Gautsch stressed.
He called for increased collaboration from the target Counties and the private sector to support county-level trade and business platforms and in the creation of a national-level platform for cassava value chain actors.