By Panagri Media Reporter, May 2, 2023, On his first official visit to Kenya, Alvaro Lario, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), met with Dr William Ruto, President of Kenya, to strengthen IFAD and Kenya’s long-standing partnership to scale up investments in agriculture and help small-scale farmers adapt to climate change.
Kenya is one of the countries most affected by the climate crisis. One of the worst ever droughts in over 40 years has caused crop failure and numerous livestock deaths. At the same time, flash floods have caused loss of life and displaced hundreds of people. Extreme weather events and conditions are seriously threatening the country’s ability to produce food, while 5.4 million in Kenya suffer from hunger.
“Small-scale farmers and rural communities play a critical role in ensuring food security. Unfortunately, multiple shocks are pushing millions into poverty and limiting their ability to produce food. But there is hope. By investing in small-scale farmers today, we can contribute to a better future tomorrow,” said Alvaro Lario, IFAD President.
Small-scale farmers produce 75 per cent of Kenya’s food with only two per cent of agricultural land under irrigation. Following five consecutive failed rainy seasons, IFAD, the Government of Kenya and various development partners are working together to reduce food insecurity, improve natural resource management, and provide access to financial services for small-scale farmers, as well as access to climate smart technologies, digital services and markets across the agricultural value chain.
Agriculture plays a critical role in Kenya’s economy, contributing 26 per cent to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing 40 per cent of the total population and 70 per cent of the rural population.
During his visit, IFAD President Lario will travel to Embu County to visit two projects where he will see first-hand how IFAD’s support will help communities in the area contribute to Kenya’s 15 billion tree campaign and transform rural livelihoods. He will be accompanied by Hon. Mithika Linturi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, Her Excellency Cecily Mbarire, Governor of Embu, and other government officials.
IFAD is increasing its presence on the ground in order to better meet the needs of the country and rural people. President Lario will meet with IFAD’s growing staff at the new regional office who are leading this effort.
Since 1979, IFAD has financed 20 rural development programmes and projects in Kenya at a total cost of $981.51 million, with an IFAD investment of $455.09 million. These projects have directly benefitted more than 4.6 million rural households.