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    sorghum

    By George Munene

    East African Breweries Ltd (EABL), has embarked on an initiative seeking out more than 4,000 Homa-Bay County farmers to grow sorghum in the next planting season starting September.

    EABL will provide farmers with seeds and other farm inputs at affordable prices to enable them to grow the crop. They will purchase the sorghum from them helping farmers acquire a market and improving their livelihoods.

    “We want as many farmers as possible to register with us. This initiative is aimed at enabling farmers who are financially challenged to produce the crop,” said EABL’s Sustainable and Stakeholder Engagement Manager Waithera Mwai during a Wednesday training session for farmers in Homa Bay town.

    Related News: EABL pays Sh1.5bn to its 60,000 small-scale sorghum farmers in the region

    The program is being run in conjunction with Sygenta Foundation East Africa, Sight Savers and the Homa Bay County government.

    “The main issue affecting our people is unemployment. This project will create self-employment for our farmers and we hope more of them take it up,” said Aguko Juma, Homa-Bay County Executive Member for Agriculture.

    Sight Savers representative, Roselyn Olewe, encouraged farmers with disabilities to embrace the project.

    Related News: Kenya constructing mango fruit fly treatment facility to access EU markets

    Related News: Rising wheat prices provides market opportunities for tuber farmers

    “We are training the farmers to empower them with knowledge on how to grow the crop. I want them to understand that it is a project that can eradicate poverty,” said Olewe.

    Sygenta Foundation’s Lucy Kioko told farmers to embrace mechanization to enable them grow sorghum in large scale. The company, she said, would provide linkage to acquisition of mechanization services.

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    66822 kdf pumps ksh1 4 billion more into kenya meat commission 780x470

    By George Munene

    The government-funded livestock destocking program has commenced in 13 drought-hit counties targeting the purchase and slaughter of over 26,710 cattle from herders to feed 267,210 households.

    This exercise will be conducted over six weeks and hopes to reduce the effects of the ongoing drought and reduce the loss of animal life.

    The current program has reached out to as many farmers within a short period of time with the aim of purchasing part of the livestock affected by drought from farmers for slaughter and distributing the meat to needy families on the ground.

    According to a press release by the KRC on the program, over 4.1 million Kenyans in 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands are in need of food aid following a prolonged drought stretching back to October 2021.

    Related News: Horn of Africa facing the worst drought in 41 years

    The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) estimates heavy livestock losses in all 23 drought-affected counties with assessments showing livestock losses of up to 70 per cent in regions such as Ileret in Marsabit County. 

    The program implemented by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCs) in conjunction with the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) targets the counties of Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia, Makueni, Garissa, Kajiado, Turkana, Wajir and Tana River. 

    Related News: WFP warns 13M people face severe drought in Kenya, Ethiopia & Somalia

    Related News: KALRO boosts dual-purpose Teff grass production to help arid farmers combat drought

    “We are not only providing food for the hungry, but by purchasing these weak animals, we are also providing markets for herders. This drought has pushed communities to the brink and our call remains to all our stakeholders and well-wishers to pull together and help alleviate this suffering,” said Dr. Asha Mohammed, Kenya Red Cross Secretary General on Tuesday.

    For his part, KMC’s Managing Commissioner Brigadier James N Githaga reiterated that the parastatal is mandated to purchase cattle, sheep, and goats from across the country and is the buyer of last resort during drought through commercial offtake or ground slaughter livestock offtake programs. 

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    uk kenya horticulture

    By George Munene

    A joint project by the Growth Gateway and Trade Connect programmes commissioned by the British government has identified three high-potential horticulture products that could increase Kenya’s exports to the UK.

    These were mixed vegetables, fresh fruit, and value-added products such as nut mixes, dried fruits, and avocado oil.

     

    Mixed vegetables (cut and frozen)

    The UK has a large export market for mixed vegetables, and Kenya is already a recognised supplier in the market.

    Kenya has existing large suppliers with the potential to scale up from current exports of Sh7.6 billion to Sh17.1 to Sh21.4 million annually by 2030, and to generate many new jobs.

    Related News: Strawberry exporter looking for outgrower farmers

    Fresh fruit

    Kenya currently exports avocados worth Sh712 million annually. This is however just two per cent of a rapidly growing, health-conscious consumer market. 

    By scaling up production of the right variety and quality of avocados, Kenya can potentially increase exports to between Sh4.3 million to Sh11.4 million annually by 2030. 

    There is a smaller opportunity to enter the market for mangoes. Both fruits could generate large-scale jobs for youth and vulnerable groups including women.

     

    Value added products

    The UK market for nut mixes and spreads, dried fruits, and avocado oil is estimated to be around Sh92.6 million annually and growing at 9 to 12 per cent CAGR. 

    This is driven by increasing consumer consciousness around health and wellness. With the right investment, opportunities exist for Kenyan SMEs to tap into this growing market.

     

    Challenges

    Kenyan agriculture producers have had issues in accessing the UK market due to having struggles delivering consistent quality and high volumes competitively. Poor trade facilitation, depreciation of the British pound, and uncertainty over post-Brexit food standards requirements have further reduced their market share.

    Agro-exporters have also faced rising freight costs.

    Related News: Kakuzi given green light to export avocado to China

    Related News: How to register for export of banana and broccoli to Korea

    As a major trading partner, the UK imported Sh83.7 billion from Kenya in 2021. This was mainly made up of crude vegetable & animal materials, flowers, coffee, tea, and fruits.

    This trade is vital to Kenya’s horticultural sector, but it has been declining steadily since 2012. The horticultural sector exports high-value products to the UK with the sector being vital for Kenyan smallholder farmer incomes, jobs, and earning foreign exchange, which supports economic growth.

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