WASHINGTON, March 16, 2010— The World Bank has approved a new emergency grant of €19.3 million to enable Kenya’s smallholder farmers to gain increased access to vital agricultural inputs and improved technologies to boost their output.
The Enhancing Agricultural Productivity Project (EAPP) grant, of about US$28 million equivalent, is financed from the European Union Food Crisis Rapid Response Facility under the World Bank-administered Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP).
“This is an important facility that will enable Kenyan farmers to continue increasing their output by adopting modern farming techniques,” said Johannes Zutt, the Country Director for Kenya. “The food situation has certainly improved from last year’s crisis and our effort is to support Kenyans to sustain the momentum of improving agricultural value chains.”
The project will provide agricultural inputs to 150,000 poor and vulnerable farmers across the country by scaling up the government’s National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Program (NAAIAP). The provision of agricultural credit through commercial banks and other financial institutions will be scaled up under the “Kilimo Biashara” program—a credit guarantee system for farmers and agro dealers.
The grant will also enable the government to provide planting materials for “orphan” or traditional crops such as cassava, millet, sorghum to over 500,000 smallholder farmers. This will increase diversification of Kenya’s food crops to produce items other than maize, the staple food.
“The broad objective of the intervention is to increase cereal production through improved access to inputs, technologies and credit during the three planting seasons starting from October 2009,” said Andrew Karanja, the Task Team Leader of the Project.
The grant will complement other agricultural productivity programs already under implementation, including the US$5 million Kenya Agricultural Input Supply emergency grant that the Bank approved in April 2009 and the US$82 million Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project approved by the Bank in June 2009. These projects are being implemented together with the US$90 million East Africa Agricultural Productivity Program, a regional project approved by the Bank in June 2009 for Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.
Kenya has experienced significant food shortfalls due to the impact of the 2008 post-election crisis combined with high prices of agricultural inputs and the impact of last year’s global economic crisis on agricultural value chains. The situation left four million Kenyans vulnerable and in need of food aid.
Although the supply situation has improved due to better weather conditions in recent months, the longer term prospects still indicate shortfalls in food production.
The World Bank and other development partners are supporting the government to strengthen its demand and supply responses to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security. They are also working in partnership to improve the governance of the agricultural sector and encourage private sector participation, especially in agribusiness.
The other development partners working with the Government of Kenya and the Bank in the agricultural sector include the European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization.