The ministry of Agriculture has unveiled a unique voucher system in Western Kenya that has brought other partners to address food security in the region
The e-voucher system under the Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme (KCEP) is being supported by the government in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and International Fund to help commercialise subsistence farmers.
“The ministry is committed to enhancing food security through strategic partnerships that address challenges hampering agricultural productivity,” said the Principal Secretary (PS) in the ministry of Agriculture, Dr Richard Lesiyampe.
The programme targets 100,000 small holder farmers who will be supported to graduate from subsistence to commercial agriculture in eight counties in the region.
About 1,000 farmers will be assisted to access inputs for one acre farms of maize and beans through the-voucher system. The farmers have already been enrolled into the Equity Bank e-voucher platform accounts and issued with debit (ATM) cards.
This is an innovative approach of delivering agricultural inputs to farmers through an electronic platform, graciously provided by Equity Bank for ease of payments to agro- dealers, who will supply the inputs. However, farmers will contribute 10 per cent of the costs of inputs during the first season and 40 per cent during the second season to enhance ownership and long term sustainability.
“We will support a second group of 7,500 commercialised farmers, through capacity building on post-harvest management and market linkages. To contribute to reduction of post-harvest losses,” said the PS.
Launching the programme, Dr Lesiyampe said the beneficiaries will receive capacity building on agronomic, post harvest management and marketing issues in addition to training on financial literacy covering budgeting, savings mobilisation, credit management, financial products and insurance.