Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) has set up eight agribusiness incubation hubs to onboard Kenyan youth and women in the agricultural sector. The hubs that are located in Bungoma, Kisii, Machakos, Uasin Gishu, Kiambu, Kilifi, Meru and Isiolo are set to primarily focus on offering farmers new avenues and opportunities to engage along the agricultural value chain.
Under the AgriBiz programme funded by European Union (EU) and Danida and implemented by KCIC, over 2,400 smallholder farmers are expected to access the business hubs as entrepreneurs and not just as suppliers.
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“The growth of entrepreneurship in this sector is very much the need of the hour. However, the challenges that can hinder such growth are plenty. Therefore, there is a need for a mechanism that can facilitate agribusiness ventures of smallholder farmers,” Dr. Edward Mungai, KCIC Group CEO says.
Business incubation hubs have proven to be effective models that can be considered not only for technology transfer and commercialization but also in achieving growth of agricultural ventures by offering the required business ecosystem.
They have also shown the potential of promoting entrepreneurship through which inclusive development of the community and thereby the economy can be achieved.
Youth and women in these eight counties as well as the neighbouring counties have been urged to take advantage of the hubs to foster their growth, increase rural-non-farm employment opportunities and add value to their agricultural produce.
So far, 200 smallholder farmers have been incubated in Meru, Bungoma and Kiambu counties and are already receiving technical support.
“We have so far onboarded 200 farmers from the three counties. They are getting access to finance and resources such as technologies, along with supportive policies and regulations,” says Makena Mworia, the Client Services Director at KCIC.
The future course of agricultural growth needs a mechanism that brings together the public and private players to advance new agro-technologies and reach out to farmers.
The incubation hubs will play a vital role and provide solutions to entrepreneurs by identifying and nurturing their innovations, enhancing links between research centres with the business community and taking the research to the market level.
KCIC is keen on keeping smallholder farmers at the centre of any development initiative, by fostering the growth of their agribusiness ventures and resolving their issues at the grassroots farming level.