The World Bank has given Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties Sh149 million to fund the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Programme.
Uasin Gishu received Sh104 million while the neighbouring Elgeyo Marakwet got Sh45 million for the project.
The financial support is aimed at boosting food production through irrigation among small-scale households.
It is also meant to support environmental conservation through agro-weather, market, climate and advisory services.
The funding targets potato and tomato production, and chicken rearing.
The World Bank lead mission member Kumar Vutukuru said the support is part of $250 million (Sh25.3 trillion) given to 24 counties across the country to improve food security and fight climate change.
“The objective of the Climate Smart Agriculture Project for Kenya is to increase agricultural productivity and build resilience to climate change risks in the targeted smallholder farming and pastoral communities in Kenya and to provide immediate and effective response in case of emergency,” he said.
He said the effects of climate change are real and they want to increase climate-smart agricultural practices by financing interventions that promote and facilitate the adoption of practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are focused on strengthening climate-smart agricultural research and seed systems by supporting development, validation, and adoption of climate change mitigation strategies to targeted beneficiaries and also develop sustainable seed production and distribution systems,” he said.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said the project aims at increasing the commercial benefit of the farmer through intense irrigation farming.
“We have identified two areas for this programme and it will directly benefit at least 300 households. We want to put over 100 acres under irrigation through this project,” he said.
He said the money would be used for the intended purpose and encouraged farmers to carry out afforestation for the county to achieve 10 per cent forest cover.
He said farmers stand to benefit a lot from the project since it will increase food security and mitigate the effects of climate change.
“Irrigation farming is the way to go now that we are experiencing erratic weather patterns. I am appealing to all locals to use the World Bank concept of integrating agriculture and environmental conservation to enhance food security and mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Mandago.
In Elgeyo Marakwet more than 73 community organised groups will benefit from the fund, with Agriculture Executive Anne Kibosia asking the beneficiaries to move away from subsistence agriculture and venture into commercial farming.
“We have the capacity to produce more, especially now that we have partners who are ready to work with us,” she said during the presentation of cheques at Iten on Friday.
Kibosia said the move would ensure that farmers are able to grow food crops and be food-secure even during drought.
Community groups in the selected wards wrote proposals, which were then vetted by the County Technical Advisory Committee and recommendations forwarded to the County Project Steering Committee for funding.