UN agency pledges more funds for fight on poverty
A United Nations agency that specialises in the fight against poverty and hunger has pledged additional funds in support of programmes that empower rural communities to increase food production.
Italy-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) said the funds would be injected into programmes that enhance food production and improve commercial value chains and enable rural farmers to sell their produce.
Ifad Vice-President Cornelia Richter spoke after completing a five-day country tour in Kenya where she visited Embu and Nakuru counties to inspect ongoing programmes funded by the UN agency under the Small Dairy Commercialization Project and the Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme–Climate Resilience Adaptation Livelihoods Window.
“With more than 75 per cent of Kenya’s population living in rural areas, Ifad is strongly committed to investing in the rural women and men who are so important to ensuring food security in these communities,” she said.
Ms Richter, who met with Deputy President William Ruto, also held discussions with senior agriculture ministry officials on modalities for expanding the successful rural development investments to include stronger links between public and private sector.
Since 1979, Ifad has participated in implementation of 18 programmes and projects worth Sh81.9 billion with the agency contributing Sh37.6 billion benefitting 4.3 million Kenyans. The Nakuru project that benefitted 120,000 people saw Ifad assist them to purchase dairy cows through a grant scheme as a part of the Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Project.
“Ifad’s impact assessment shows farmers trained on good quality feed production, animal care and breeding experienced a 37 per cent increase in milk production with earnings rising by 31 per cent from milk sales,” said the Ifad statement.
During her visit at Saint Ursula Primary School in the Embu county, Ms Richter encouraged pupils to take up environmental education seriously.
The school is one of 1,706 schools across Kenya that benefitted from Ifad’s Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resource Management Support Project. Agricultural activities account for about 26 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and upto 40per cent of Kenyans work in agriculture-related enterprises.