Nairobi — Smallholder farmers will benefit from a research initiative from the Australian government to the tune of Sh335.5 million (AUD3.65 million).
The five-year Australian-Kenyan project is led by Business for Development in partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
It is also in collaboration with Kwale County Government, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Pwani University, and PAVI Farmers’ Cooperative.
The initiative will develop a model for market-driven, collaborative value chains incorporating collective farming and circular agriculture to create sustainable and ethical production systems in the smallholder farming community of Kwale.
“The Australian Government stands with Kenya, and other partners in the region, working towards addressing the region’s food security crisis,” Australian High Commissioner to Kenya Luke Williams said after launching the program yesterday.
“The MKUKI-Kwale project will help guarantee food security through the expansion of food production and supply, improving food affordability, and support value addition in the value chain,” Williams added.
74 percent of Kenya’s population lives in rural areas and relies on farming to support their livelihoods.
Smallholder farmers, like those represented by the PAVI Farmers’ Cooperative, are critical to Kenya’s food security, contributing 63 percent to national food production.
The project will work with the community at the smallholder farmer level as well as explore how larger blocks of land could be managed collectively in a way that is culturally appropriate, building sustainable community capacity.
“The MKUKI-Kwale project will incorporate ground-breaking research spanning social sciences, value chains and bio-physical research to develop evidence-based tools and learnings,” Rachel Okeyo of Business for Development said.
The MKUKI-Kwale project will also be supported by two Australian companies: Base Titanium Limited, a mineral sands producer located in Kwale County, and Cotton On Group, Australia’s largest global retailer.