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AGRICULTURE

Kenya Secures Ksh100m to Boost Indigenous Vegetable Production

18 March 2024

Business Day Africa (Nairobi)

By Gerald Andae

Kenya has secured Ksh100 million from the USAID Feed the Future Programme intended to bolster the production of indigenous vegetables, responding to the increasing demand spurred by the expanding middle-class population.

Mumina Shibia, the Principal Investigator for African Leafy Vegetables Programme said the funds are earmarked for indigenous vegetable seed research and bolstering the value chain within the subsector.

This initiative is poised to address challenges such as post-harvest losses while simultaneously aiming to escalate production volumes for both local consumption and international trade.

The move comes at a time when Kenya’s horticultural exports have been on an upward trajectory with the country earning Ksh157 billion last year up from Ksh146 previously.

Building upon this momentum, Kenya aims to further bolster its horticulture exports over the next three years, with indigenous vegetables poised to become a key export commodity.

Part of these funds will be channeled towards local and international higher learning institutions to conduct research aimed at enhancing seed quality.

Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (Kalro) is collaborating with the University of Nairobi and the North Carolina State University (NCSU) to boost production of indigenous vegetables under this project.

KALRO Director General Eliud Kireger said there is untapped potential of traditional vegetables and therefore there is need to enhance their productivity, streamline post-harvest management practices and facilitate better market access.

“This initiative is not just about improving yields or increasing profits; it is about empowering our farmers, especially women and youth, revitalising rural communities, and promoting food security and nutrition for all Kenyans,” he said

Moreover, the funding seeks to fortify the indigenous vegetable supply chain to reduce post-harvest losses by 20 percent.

Research efforts are also directed towards achieving a 15 percent increase in indigenous vegetable production per hectare in the short term.

The research will be piloted in two counties of Kisii and Kakamega, leveraging local expertise and resources to drive agricultural innovation.

Read the original article on Business Day Africa.

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