The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will spend $250 million in an eight year programme aimed at enabling communities to manage natural resources in 10 counties in Kenya.
The Ifad Country Director, Mariatu Kamara, said the funds would come from Ifad, which will mobilise resources from its partners, the central government, the county government and beneficiaries, whose contribution will be in terms of their land and labour.
She said the target of the programme, which is still at the design stage, is to create incentives for communities in the targeted counties, to be able to manage their natural resources and at the same time, improve their livelihoods.
“You cannot tell people to manage their natural resources, if you don’t give them alternatives, those are things they can do as they manage the resources,” she said.
Speaking when she and her team paid a courtesy call on the Elgeyo Marakwet Governor, Wisley Rotich, in his office, the Country Director said the County qualified for the programme due to its high poverty index rate, which was higher than the national average.
According to the county’s Department for Finance and Planning Report, 57percent of residents live below the poverty line compared to the national average of 46 percent while at the escarpment and Kerio Valley, poverty levels are as high as 67 percent.
She added that the County being a source of water to the neighbouring counties, puts it in an advantageous position to start-up irrigation projects, which will increase agricultural productivity, thus increasing food and nutritional security.
The Director said Ifad will first engage with leaders before going to the community to discuss the challenges faced, the opportunities available and how all can work together in providing solutions.
The Governor said the County will engage the community, to ensure that whatever is being implemented is in line with their concerns.
He said among the things they will be emphasizing, is how to harvest water at the household level, have water pans, plant fruit trees and conserve the environment at the same time.