KENYA – Exotic-EPZ Kenya, a leading macadamia processor and exporter, is among 7 firms that are benefiting from a US$5.1 million grant from the US government aimed at boosting value addition of agricultural produce as a route to food security.

The grant was announced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the US government’s trade promoter, Prosper Africa, and Feed the Future Initiative on the side-lines of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) business summit in Nairobi.

The Kajiado County-based processor is set to receive US$1 million while its peer Afrimac Nut Company will receive about US$450,000 to intensify macadamia processing in Kenya.

Other beneficiaries include of the grant include Regen ($1.2 million) – an organic fertilizer producer, Sunculture ($800,000) – which makes solar irrigation systems, iProcure ($1.2 million) – an agricultural procurement platform.

Goshen Farm Exporters ($300,000), and Victory Farms ($150,000) – which operates fish cages in Lake Victoria and sells fresh fish produce across Kenya close the 7-member list.

David Gosney, United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) mission director for Kenya stated that the seven companies selected for this grant were chosen because they are “investing in solutions to improve the lives of Kenyan farmers and to create new jobs and new economic opportunities”.

The grant beneficiaries are therefore expected to use the funds in expanding Kenyan value-added processing and the export of products like macadamia nuts as well as boost incomes for over 1 million Kenyan farmers.

Recently, George Kubai, the Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC) managing director revealed that the Agri-sector credit demand in Kenya is over KES40 billion (US$ 300M) annually, indicating a significant funding gap that hinders the productivity and profitability of the sector.

To address this gap, AFC in partnership with Financial Service Deepening (FSD) Kenya and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) committed to creating a KES100 billion (US$ 750M) fund aimed at boosting lending to farmers in the next five years.

On his part, USAID’s deputy assistant administrator Michael Michener said the organization will continue to roll out such grants in the future to support Kenyan farmers gain wider access to markets for their products.

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