East Africa: Multi-Country Project to Boost Food Production

A FIVE-YEAR multi-country project for Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda is investing 2 million Euros in grants to 14 Agri businesses in the three partner states.

The investment from the Climate Resilient Agribusiness for Tomorrow (CRAFT), project is specifically targeting companies and farmers working in the sunflower, soybean, sesame, common beans, potato and sorghum value chains in the three countries.

According to the CRAFT Project Manager Tanzania, Mr Menno Keizer, Coinvestment with the private sector is one of the key strategies identified by the project to achieve sustainable results and increase availability and accessibility of climate-resilient food.

"Through its climate innovation and investment facility (CIIF), the project will support performance-based investments so as to build the resilience of private sector agribusinesses and service providers in the targeted value chains," he said.

So far four Tanzanian companies (Nondo Investors Company Limited, Rogimwa Agro Company Limited, Jackma Enterprises Limited and Mwenge Sunflower Oil Mills), have signed partnership agreements worth 567,135 Euros.

With the programme, food production in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda has to increase significantly to feed the population that is growing at an average of 3 per cent in Tanzania and Uganda and 2.5 percent in Kenya.

Adoption of climate smart production, harvesting and processing methodologies is key to improving productivity and efficiencies of the existing food crop production and supply systems.

Achieving an increase in food production however requires concerted efforts and joint investments by supply chain actors, service providers and public sector partners, working in the different targeted value chains to support effective adaptation and mitigation strategies.

CRAFT invests in companies that have demonstrated from their own internally generated funds as well as from third party providers (i.e. financiers and beneficiaries) that their businesses are viable.

The project will thus work with and through the private sector to promote climate smart agriculture related innovations at farm-and value chain level and support public sector partners in creating the institutional environment for wide-scale adoption of CSA-practices.

The CIIF contribution is not an end in itself but rather a means for attracting commercial funding for follow-on investments and scaling.

The agri-businesses invest their own funds and then leverage off the CRAFT grant to attract additional investment from commercial financial institutions.

This not only boosts their credit worthiness and relationship with the financial institutions but ensures businesses continuity beyond the life of the project.

The CRAFT investment facility will be able to reduce the financial risks of new business initiatives including those of small-medium scale (women and youth led), agri businesses and of cooperatives, thereby contributing to an increase in the level of investment and private sector engagement in the climate resilient food systems in East Africa.

The Climate Resilient Agribusiness for Tomorrow (CRAFT), project is a multi-country (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) five-year effort implemented by SNV in partnership with Wageningen University and Research (WUR), CGIAR's Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Agriterra, and Rabo Partnerships.

The project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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