The International Finance Corporation(IFC) will invest a loan of up to Sh31.96 billion ($210 million) in Italian firm, Eni Kenya to support its Agri-Feedstock Project in Kenya.
This will be used for Eni’s agri-business activities, including developing four Agri-Hubs in Kenya with a total output capacity of 200,000 MT of vegetable oil per year. Setting up working capital for feedstock sourcing and formulation of a risk-sharing facility with a Kenyan commercial bank on portfolios of eligible loans of up to Sh9.1 billion ($60 million) to farmers and aggregators supplying its Agri-Hubs.
Eni’s Agri-Feedstock Project aims at achieving a positive impact on more than 700 thousand families of farmers in 2026 and more than one million by 2030, contributing to food security with the production of one million tons of animal feed and fertilizers in 2026 and much more in the following years.
Further, the program will stimulate socio-economic development, particularly in degraded lands, and contribute to enhanced food security from the onward production of animal feeds and fertilizers from by-products of vegetable oil processing.
The program involves the contractual engagement of third-party aggregators and farmers to supply agri-feedstock, such as cultivated oil seeds and residues from agro-processing and agroforestry to oil extraction and processing plants (“Agri-Hubs”), where these biomasses are processed to produce vegetable oil, destined to Eni bio-refineries in Italy. These are further refined into different bio-energy products (biofuels).
Eni is developing the Agri Feedstock program in several countries, with a target production of 700 hundred thousand tons of vegetable oil in 2026 and significantly more than one million tons in 2030.
The company currently operates one Agri-Hub in Makueni County and is completing the construction of the second one in Kwale County. The third Agri-Hub is planned to be built at the beginning of 2025. The location for the fourth Agri-hub, with a production capacity of approximately 100,000 MT per year, is being assessed.
The Makueni Agri-Hub, commissioned in July 2022, produces 15,000 metric tons (MT) of oil annually. The feedstock processed in the Agri-Hub are non-food oilseeds (such as castor) cultivated in degraded land, residues from agro-processing (cotton seeds and residues from nut processing), and other oilseeds, such as croton, from spontaneous trees abundant in Kenya.
The biofuels are produced from non-edible oilseeds like castor and croton gotten from feedstocks that do not compete with food production because they are grown on degraded lands mostly in Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) not suitable for food production and/or are grown in rotation/inter-cropping with food crops.