Press Release: 4 May 2023
AU$3.65 million Australian-Funded Agribusiness Research Initiative to Benefit Hundreds of Kwale Smallholder Farmers
An AU$3.65 million agribusiness research initiative will benefit hundreds of smallholder farmers in Kwale through a five-year Australian-Kenyan project led by Business for Development in partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), and in collaboration with Kwale County Government, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Pwani University and PAVI Farmers’ Cooperative.
Officially launched yesterday in Kwale County by the Australian High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Mr Luke Williams, and Kwale County Deputy Governor H.E. Mr Chirema Kombo, the Mradi wa Kuimarisha Kilimo-Biashara Kwale (MKUKI) project, translating to Kwale Agribusiness Strengthening project, will develop a model for market-driven, collaborative value chains incorporating collective farming and circular agriculture to create sustainable and ethical production systems in the smallholder farming community of Kwale.
74% of Kenya’s population live in rural areas and rely on farming to support livelihoods. Smallholder farmers, like those represented by the PAVI Farmers’ Cooperative, are critical to Kenya’s food security, contributing 63% towards national food production. The project will be working with the community at the smallholder farmer level, as well as exploring how larger blocks of land could be managed collectively in a way that is culturally appropriate, building sustainable community capacity.
Quote attributable to the Australian High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Mr Luke Williams:
“The Australian Government stands with Kenya, and other partners in the region, working towards addressing the region’s food security crisis. The MKUKI-Kwale project will help guarantee food security through the expansion of food production and supply, improving food affordability, and support value addition in the value chain.
The agricultural environments of Eastern Africa and Australia have much in common and Australian agricultural science has expertise that is directly relevant to the African context. Through ACIAR, Australia has been working with partners in Africa for more than thirty years supporting projects that mobilise this expertise to improve food, nutrition, water and health security of rural communities. ACIAR is currently investing AU$8.2 million across 26 projects in 11 African countries including Kenya.”
Quote attributable to Dr Rachel Okeyo and Ms Deborah Doan of Business for Development:
“The MKUKI-Kwale project will incorporate ground-breaking research spanning social sciences, value chains and bio-physical research to develop evidence-based tools and learnings. Key innovations include formal learning pathways within cooperatives, research on effective farming communities and audio-based farmer training.”
The MKUKI-Kwale project will also be supported by two Australian companies, Base Titanium Limited, a mineral sands producer located in Kwale County, and Cotton On Group, Australia’s largest global retailer.
Elizabeth O’Connor, Australian High Commission, Kenya: elizabeth.o’[email protected] or +254 746 437845. Meg Kauthen, Business for Development, Australia: [email protected] or +61 3 9008 9030.