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Programme a boon to Kenya’s farmers

BUSINESS
By - | November 29th 2012

By  Standard Reporter

A pilot funding programme aimed at assisting coffee, cotton, pyrethrum farmers maximise their returns has resulted in a significant increase in revenue, production output and created marketing links for the commodities both locally and abroad.

Findings from the $6 million (Sh516 million) Value Chain Based Matching Grant Fund Programme – organised by the Ministry of Industrialisation – points to a trend where simple private sector-led guidance on production, credit and marketing solutions can change the fortunes in the agricultural sector.

The programme was funded by the World Bank and managed by Deloitte East Africa between 2006 and last year.

“Limited access to information, finance and Business Development Services, have continued to constrain the agricultural sector competitiveness. By raising the value addition, you improve the livelihood of the poor,” said Sammy Onyango, the Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte East Africa.

Technical assistance

 “The objective of the project was to facilitate access to technical assistance, strengthen competitiveness and raise value-addition in four value chains – coffee, cotton to garment, pyrethrum and leather,” he added.

According to the results presented yesterday at a breakfast function held at Deloitte Place, coffee production rose 48 per cent under the ‘cotton to garment’ pilot projects, with output increasing from under 100kgs to 3,000kgs per acre.

The programme findings also show that over the seven-year period, the price of coffee per kilo rose from Sh6 in 2005 to Sh72-85 last year, with sales revenue rising over 50 per cent, and revenue per farmer rising by 348 per cent from $105 (Sh9,000) in 2006 to $460 (Sh39,560) last year.

Over the same period, cotton prices also rose from Sh22 to Sh65 – mainly as a result of advice on intercropping, creation of market linkages during international exhibitions and advice from experts on credit and best farming methods.

The change in fortunes for cotton farmers was also driven by advice on how to improve quality, where and how to receive certification for seeds.

Key driver

“Simple private sector ways of doing things can go a long way in improving production in our agricultural sector which is a key driver of our economy,” said Anthony Getambu, the Director of the project, Deloitte East Africa

Increase in production was not the only change that came as a result of the Public-Private-Partnership, the results also led to a change in policy in the pyrethrum and leather industries, with the drafting of the Pyrethrum Bill 2011 aimed at reviving the pyrethrum sector by enabling a free market economy.

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