Equity Group commits Kshs20bn loan to medium-sized farmers

Equity Group commits Kshs20bn loan to medium-sized farmers

A farmer waters vegetables in a farm. Equity Group commits Kshs20bn for to medium sized farmers

Equity Group Foundation through its Agriculture Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme is committing Ksh20 billion in the next five years in a plan to transform farming into commercial ventures through loans to medium-sized farmers. The funding seeks to benefit farmers with 10-100 acres to turn farming into serious commercial enterprises in order to enhance food security and bridge the annual deficit.


Agricultural Policy Research in Africa

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year (2016-2021) Research Programme Consortium funded by UK aid from the UK Government through DFID. The programme is based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK (www.ids.ac.uk), with regional hubs in Eastern Africa (Nairobi), West Africa (Ghana), and Southern Africa (South Africa. It has six (6) focal countries across East, West and Southern Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe) representing a diverse range of commercialisation contexts and activities.

CABE hosts the Eastern Africa Hub of APRA and plays a coordination and governance role with specified roles on engaging and influencing policy and practice on agricultural commercialisation and its outcomes. These include: organising regional/ international conferences, workshops to share research results, and feedback on mid-term and end to Reference Groups and wider regional and national stakeholders and policy audiences.

APRA aims to produce new information and insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in order to assess their impacts and outcomes on rural poverty, women’s and girl’s empowerment and food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The programme has four interlinked objectives: (1) generating high-quality evidence on pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa, using a rigorous mix of quantitative and qualitative methods; (2) undertaking policy research on agricultural commercialisation to fill key evidence gaps and define policy options; (3) ensuring the sharing and uptake of research by a diverse range of stakeholders; (4) strengthening the capacity of the research team, and associated partner institutions, to deliver high-quality research and advice.

The programme has just completed a one-year inception and moving into the first year of implementation. It is expected to facilitate policies on and investments in commercial agriculture to be more effective in terms of their impact on rural poverty, food and nutrition security, particularly in relation to women and girls; and provide a much better understanding of the political economy behind decision making on agricultural commercialisation in Africa. Read more on APRA: (http://www.future-agricultures.org/apra).



Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Market Linkages Project

The Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition (BFN) Market Linkages Project: An Adapted Farmer Business School (FBS) model and the Development of a Supply Chain Model for African Leafy Vegetables is a pilot project working with identified entrepreneurial farmer groups to build their capacity in the sustainable production of nutrient-rich crops and strengthen their capacity to respond to market demands for these crops.

The project targets institutional markets such as local schools, clinics and many others; to increase the appreciation and use of local nutritious biodiversity to improve dietary diversity. The overall aim of this pilot project to improve the sustainable production and consumption of nutrient-rich indigenous crops to diversify diets in Busia County, Western Kenya, by linking rural entrepreneurs to institutional markets.

The objectives of this project are to:

  1. To empower community-based organizations (CBOs) and self-help groups (SHGs), especially women, to supply markets for nutrient-rich foods by improving sustainable production using best practices, improved processing,handling, marketing, financial and business management;
  2. To develop institutional markets (schools, clinics, etc.) and supply chains for nutrient-rich foods to support the improvement of dietary diversity in institutions and;
  3. To raise awareness among target groups of the value of indigenous crops in improving diets, especially women and young children, leading to increased demand for nutritious foods in the wider population.

So far the project staff in the seven (7) sub-counties of Busia County have undertaken a capacity assessment exercise to profile the groups on various aspects of governance, entrepreneurship skills, understanding of food and nutrition, marketing and market linkages as well as development of business plans. Anchor farmers and group committees have been identified and various group training specific modules are ongoing. Cooking demonstrations have be undertaken.

Capacity building activities in nutrition education, understanding marketing and building the capacity of farmer groups to conduct market surveys are underway.

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