By Ally Jamah
Kenya will receive Sh 2.8 billion (US$33 million) loan from IFAD to go towards conservation projects.
The country will receive another Sh 1.3 billion (EUR 12.8 million) loan from Spanish Trust Fund.
The funds will go towards environmental conservation in Upper Tana will improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
The first tranche goes to Kenya to finance the Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resource Management Project.
An additional loan amount of EUR 12.8 million from the Spanish Food Security co-financing Facility Trust Fund will also be provided to fund the same project.
This new project will help smallholder farmers in the area to reduce rural poverty through sustainable management of their natural resource base.
Josephine Wangari Gaita, Ambassador of Kenya to Italy and the Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, today signed the financing agreement for the new project.
In Kenya, poverty and environmental degradation are inter-linked. Poor water management, soil erosion, declining soil fertility and land degradation are compounded by the impact of climate change, which has led to a decline in agricultural yields over past decades.
In some parts of the country, the droughts in 2009 and 2011 generated food emergencies, while flooding in 2010 and recently in 2012 severely affected some parts of the country.
The new project will be a scaling up of the Mount Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resource Management supported by IFAD and the Global Environment Facility. It will help to promote environmental conservation as a means to ensure sustainable livelihoods for poor rural people in five selected river basins of the
Upper Tana river.
The project will cover about 17,420 square kilometres and include 24 river basins that drain into the Tana river with the aim to increase the food production and incomes of the poor rural families living in the area.