The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Cooperative University of Kenya (CUK) have signed a grant agreement to finance the development of a digital platform to support agricultural cooperatives in the country.
The agreement stipulates a three-year grant, amounting to Sh88.6 million. Through the Kenya Rural Transformation Digital Platform project, it will improve how agricultural cooperatives, also referred to as Rural Transformation Centers (RTC), access agricultural farm inputs, financing, production information, markets for their produce as well as information on rainfall and other related critical farm-level information.
The project will integrate smallholder farmers and other stakeholders along with the agriculture value chain by developing a digital platform (RTC Digital Platform) that will connect farmers with the private sector and public services.
In his remarks, the CUK Vice-Chancellor, Kamau Ngamau, lauded the Bank and project implementation team for what he described as the most innovative initiative for “connecting smallholder farmers to the entire value chain”. He emphasized the importance of agricultural cooperatives and smallholder farmers in socio-economic development, noting that partnerships between academia and industry were key drivers of transformation.
The Bank further urged the project implementation unit to take gender issues into account when rolling out the program. According to Bernard Chitunga at AfDB’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program, “This project digs deeper into inclusive growth, where youth and women are part of the impacted population.”
Yuji Shigefuji, First Secretary, Economic Affairs and Economic Cooperation of the Embassy of Japan in Kenya and officials from the National Treasury graced the occasion.