Kisumu’s quest to improve food security has received a boost with the signing of an agreement with a British-based strategic investment group to increase agricultural production by Sh31 billion.
The administration of Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o believes the deal is a significant step towards transforming the devolved unit’s agro-food capital and will be critical in opening up avenues for expanding food production.
The deal was signed in London, United Kingdom, with United Green, a British-based private strategic investment group, in an event attended by Trade CS Moses Kuria and Governor Nyong’o yesterday.
Kuria said the deal will see the start of a flagship agricultural fin-tech programme for rural communities, high productivity, climate-smart farming and the establishment of the state of the art agro-industrial facilities.
“This venture will be the largest and most modern integrated agri-food and services programme and operation in Kenya. It will position the project as the leading strategic player in the development of Kenya’s high-potential agricultural sector,” said Kuria.
The CS said the venture’s primary farms would integrate with 100,000 hectares of surrounding farming communities through a smallholder farmer scheme to increase their productivity and provide support on sustainable farming methods.
“Some 20,000 rural households are to be incorporated in the new agri-food operating system, and at least 5,000 indirect jobs will be created when the integrated enterprise is at full capacity,” added the CS.
Pre-production activities of the project are expected to commence at the start of the next financial year.
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“This is a landmark joint venture that will change the food security situation in the country significantly. The county government will do its part for the achievement of this noble objective,” said Nyong’o.
The governor said the lead partners in the project - United Green and the national government’s Ministry of Trade, have shown the strongest commitment to the success of the collaboration.
“This project will not only address the food security in the region but will offer thousands of job opportunities to people living in the catchment areas. As a government, we are committed to availing land needed,” he said.
According to the governor, the investment will further support the national governments’ commitment to increasing productivity, youth participation and employment within the development of local agriculture and associated industries.
He said it would also increase a strong demand for high-quality, safe food products.
Nyong’o said the project would also deliver the largest and most modern integrated crop and agro-industrial processing system in Kenya.