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Kenya at a glance – South-South and Triangular Cooperation Country Project

by Grace Kisembo

As highlighted in the recent UN Common Country Analysis for Kenya, agriculture is central to Kenya’s economy. The sector accounts for 65 percent of the export earnings and provides the livelihood (employment, income, and food security needs) for more than 80 percent of the Kenyan population.

Despite the valuable contribution of the agriculture sector to growth and employment, it remains largely underdeveloped and low in productivity.

Furthermore, poor post-harvest management renders much agriculture unprofitable, with an estimated 40 percent of harvested crops being lost every year, representing financial losses of up to USD 500 million.

Climate change is putting additional pressure on the food and nutrition security of Kenya’s rural population and requires the adoption of climate-smart production techniques. The social protection and safety nets coverage is limited in rural agricultural and pastoralist communities.

Kenya is facing the challenge of low availability of nutritious foods, therefore, increasing the value addition and economic return of the most vulnerable smallholders in the arid and semi-arid counties is a priority. WFP seeks to address the low availability of nutritious foods while introducing value addition to increase economic returns of smallholders in the arid and semi-arid counties through the SSTC project.

Additionally, the project helps to enhance Post-Harvest Loss Management Practices and Technologies through a Food System approach specifically for fresh foods and vegetables.

The SSTC project in Kenya is focusing on promoting increased food availability and reducing postharvest loss through appropriate technology and skills development for small-holder farmers, micro and small enterprises, and government agricultural officers.

This project was designed in consultation with the local government authorities and is in line with Kenya’s national priorities in food security, nutrition, emergency, agriculture, youth, gender, and social protection.

Additionally, the demand for access to markets, inputs and training for smallholders was addressed through the piloting of the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) Farmer Service Center (FSC) model. The FSCs are groups of rural entrepreneurs, farmer groups, aggregators or similar, that are key service hubs connecting private and public sector partners with smallholder farmers.

They play a key role in bridging the last-mile gap between value chain players and smallholder farmers effectively and efficiently. The FSCs, which were introduced to the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) in phase II of the project under the SSTC funding, are supporting rural arid lands farming communities to increase their farming skills through agriculture extension, access inputs and new marketing outlets.

China’s expertise in rural technical and extension services and transformation for agriculture development was shared through a webinar by a MARA-nominated expert – Dr. Qiao Liang, associate professor on Agricultural Economics & Management at the School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University. The expert also initiated a virtual peer review of the FSC business model.

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