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Kenya to gain from $17 billion fund for climate-friendly farming

Kenya is among the top beneficiaries of $17 billion investment in projects to help farmers adapt to climate change.

The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), a global initiative spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates and the United States, is spending money on 78 projects globally, including those in Kenya.

The fund is meant to advance climate-friendly farming around the world.

The scaled-up investments were announced at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai on Friday.

The project is financing $350.4 million (Sh54.2 billion) in projects in Kenya, which will include investment in feedstock for renewable diesel; enrolling four million acres of regenerative agriculture by 2025; investing broadly in fermentation technology that powers new plant-based products; and support for the Lifesaving Education and Assistance to Farmers (LEAF) Program in Kenya.

AIM for Climate was launched as a $8 billion initiative by the President of the United States at the COP26 in the UK.

The investment was doubled to $17 billion last week because of increased support from over 600 government and non-government partners.

The increase was announced by AIM for Climate co-leads US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri at the UAE Pavilion, COP28.

Vilsack said: “Our joint efforts are not just about climate-smart agricultural advancements but about nurturing ambition, catalysing action, and fostering hope towards a more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous world for all.”

Mariam added: “The significant traction gained by AIM for Climate is another step in promoting climate-smart agriculture, driven by innovation and advanced technology, which is critical to strengthening productivity and building sectoral resilience.”

COP28 is the 28th annual United Nations (UN) climate meeting where governments discuss how to limit and prepare for future climate change.

The meeting began on November 30 and will end on December 12.

In the meeting, Kenya has also been scouting for support for various initiatives to fight climate change or help locals adapt to its effects.

Last week, Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru said she was scouting for investors for the industrial parks in counties.

“We have identified each county with a specific value chain,” Waiguru said.

“Northeastern counties are going to have industries around leather and meat production. When you come to Kirinyaga, our industrial park will be around tomatoes, coffee and tea.”

Waiguru, in one of the side events, described the parks as a game changer.

It is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 jobs will be provided once aggregation and industrial parks are created in 18 counties within three years.

Waiguru said the move will not only create jobs but also enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation, and improve livelihoods.

On November 22, the national government and 18 counties signed intergovernmental partnership agreements with the devolved units, setting the ball rolling for the implementation of the project.

The deal was signed between Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru and Investments CS Rebecca Miano.

It states the national government will transfer Sh250 million to each county government as conditional grants in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act.

The county governments will allocate matching funds to the project, Sh250 million.

Under the agreement, the national government is mandated to fast-track the allocation of conditional grants to the remaining 29 counties through a supplementary budget in the financial year 2023–24.

Waiguru said the aggregation and industrial parks are taking shape in various counties.

The beneficiary counties include Bungoma, Busia, Embu, Garissa, Homa Bay, Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Machakos.

Others are Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Murang’a, Nakuru, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Ngishu.

Waiguru said the lake region will, for instance, have industries around cotton and the production of oil from either sunflower or palm oil.

The Kirinyaga governor said her county has plans to introduce new tomato varieties as part of enhancing value addition.

Waiguru said the parks will provide employment to young people, thereby curbing rural-urban migration and supporting sustainable development goals.

It is envisaged that the parks will boost aggregation, value addition, market linkages and industrialisation in the country.

This project will contribute to enhanced production, reduced post-harvest losses, agro-processing, entrepreneurship and job creation.

Source: The Star