Nairobi, — Kenya is expected to receive a loan of US$33 million (Sh2.8billion) from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to finance the Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resource Management Project.
An additional loan amount of EUR 12.8 million (Sh13.6billion) from the Spanish Food Security Cofinancing Facility Trust Fund will also be provided to fund the same project.
This new project will help smallholder farmers in the area to reduce rural poverty through sustainable management of their natural resource base.
The financing agreement for the new project was signed by Josephine Wangari Gaita, Kenya's envoy to Italy and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
The new project will be a scaling up of the Mount Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resource Management supported by IFAD and the Global Environment Facility. It will help to promote environmental conservation as a means to ensure sustainable livelihoods for poor rural people in five selected river basins of the Upper Tana River.
The project will cover about 17,420 square kilometres and include 24 river basins that drain into the Tana River with the aim to increase the food production and incomes of the poor rural families living in the area.
Co-financed by the government of Kenya, approximately 205,000 poor rural households will benefit from the project, which will have a particular focus on women.
In Kenya, poverty and environmental degradation are inter-linked. Poor water management, soil erosion, declining soil fertility and land degradation are compounded by the impact of climate change, which has led to a decline in agricultural yields over past decades.
In some parts of the country, the droughts in 2009 and 2011 generated food emergencies, while flooding in 2010 and recently in 2012 severely affected some parts of the country.
Since 1979, with this new project, IFAD will have financed 16 programmes and projects in Kenya for a total investment of $247.5 million benefiting 4,200,097 rural households.