World Bank’s National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIG) in Nakuru County, is evaluating 217 proposals from small holder farmers for funding in a move aimed at bolstering rural economies and improve on livelihoods of the farmers.
The County Director of Community Development component of the project Jenifer Bett said the World Bank Funded program has already approved for funding 152 micro business concepts in apiculture, dairy, Irish potato and poultry value chains to a tune of Sh87 million in grant.
Bett was speaking in Nakuru during a three-day workshop aimed at acquainting 50 Agricultural extension officers in the region, with the project components and skills in effective business concept development to help spur farmers in to competitive farming practices.
Bett said 824 farming self-help groups have tendered the approved proposals and will begin receiving their grants in the next two weeks.
She said the groups comprising women, youth and people living with disability are in the County’s five sub-counties and 20 wards and will receive free agricultural extension services alongside the grant for the next 12 months, in a move aimed at empowering beneficiaries to shore up rural areas by creating wealth and jobs.
The Director said besides the four value chains, the program is also reviewing 65 proposals for sustainable land management for funding in over exploited sensitive ecological areas of the county in a bid to conserve the environment.
She said the extension services will lay emphasis on post-harvest loss management, value addition, and mechanized farming as a way of enabling participating smallholder farmers to expand their usually narrow profit margins and diversify to highly profitable agricultural ventures.
Bett said Nakuru County has a target of 600 proposals for funding every four months, but due to incapacity among target beneficiaries to develop effective farming concepts, the County is currently generating 400 proposals for review and funding within a similar period.
Agricultural Extension officers Virginia Gitau and John Kamanja commended the initiative saying it will retool officers with modern day skills in proposal writing who will in turn cascade the knowledge to struggling farmers to enable them to pitch ideas for grants.
NARIG is a Sh 22.6 Billion World Bank program co-driven by 21 County governments in an effort to make agricultural development an inclusive pathway to sustainable economic empowerment.
The program issues grants to organized groups with practical proposals in various high potential value chains identified by targeted County Governments. The program that kicked off in December last year will run for four years.