More than 35,000 rural households in Kenya will soon be eating better and earning more money thanks to a new financial agreement signed today by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Republic of Kenya in support of the country’s aquaculture sector.
With some 10 million Kenyans suffering from chronic food insecurity and poor nutrition, the new agreement provides financial support to the Aquaculture Business Development Programme and related activities designed to promote fish production in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner in 15 target counties.
The total cost of the programme is US$143.3 million, including a $40.0 million loan from IFAD. The programme will be co-financed by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations ($400,000), the Government of Kenya ($31.4 million) and by the beneficiaries themselves ($43.6 million). The financing gap of $27.9 million will be covered from future IFAD financing rounds or by potential co-financing partners.
The financial agreement, signed in Rome by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Harriet M. Nduma, Charge d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya, will go a long way to improving food security and reducing poverty in rural areas where 75 percent of Kenyans live.
The programme’s goals are to assist thousands of smallholder farmers in becoming profitable fish producers or village-level providers of support services within value chains in counties that already have aquaculture-related infrastructure, adequate water resources, marketing potential, and high poverty rates.
The proposed approach blends public- and private-sector investments in the aquaculture value chain with community-wide initiatives that promote good nutrition and food security through education and better access to affordable foods.
The new programme will pay special attention to women and youth. For example, while women are engaged in most areas of fish value chains, recent studies show that men receive a larger share of the benefits. Youth unemployment is also very high in rural areas and it’s hoped the new programme will slow outward migration.
Since 1979, IFAD has financed 18 rural development programmes and projects in Kenya at a total cost of $819.3 million, with an IFAD investment of $376.3 million. These projects have directly benefitted more than 4.3 million rural households.