On February 10, KIWASH signed a grant agreement with a Kenyan agribusiness firm Safe Produce Solutions. The grant supports a one-year project designed to provide 120 smallholder farmers access to appropriate irrigation technologies that boost nutrition, productivity and income generation in Kitui and Makueni counties.
Under the arrangement, Safe Produce Solutions installs simple irrigation equipment and builds the capacity of farmers to grow high quality horticulture produce.
KIWASH offers a recoverable grant model to facilitate farmers’ access to finance for the purchase and installation of the energy and water-efficient irrigation equipment, including solar pumps, open drip irrigation kits and 1,000-liter storage tanks.
The farmers in eastern Kenya are set to realize significant increases to their household income within the first crop cycle and they will also benefit from a ready market for their produce through Safe Produce Solutions.
“The irrigation kit is very efficient because it uses a little water and since it’s operated with a solar pump I don’t incur electricity costs. I’m expecting to harvest my first yield of nutritious vegetables for sell and consumption at home,” said Vincent Mundi, the first farmer to receive the irrigation kit in Kitui County.
Successful recovery of the grant funds from the farmers will also demonstrate to banks and micro finance institutions the viability of this business arrangement between smallholder farmers and dedicated agribusinesses, and motivate them to extend credit facilities to more farmers to purchase irrigation kits and inputs, thus scaling up smallholder participation in productive value chains.