MARKET: The Covid-19 pandemic may have caused a major socio-economic crisis in the country in the last one year, but it now appears to be a blessing in disguise.
Over 2,000 traditional vegetable farmers in the country could be the first batch of Kenyans – ravaged by the pandemic – to smile all the way to the bank following the launch of a new vegetable production project targeting African Traditional Vegetables.
The World Vegetable Centre, an organisation championing seed multiplication and production of African Traditional Vegetables has unveiled a €6 million (Sh802.75 million) project targeting to empower about 120 business networks involved in the vegetable value chain in the country.
The five-year project funded by the SNV Netherlands and being implemented by the World Vegetable Centre at completion will generate €9 million (Sh1.2 billion) per year.
Project managers said yesterday in Nairobi, that already 60 business networks drawn from counties in the periphery of Nairobi and Kisumu cities, have been identified, and will pioneer the project which is also being implemented in Ethiopia.
World Vegetable Centre Country director and project principal investigator, Ralph Roothaert, said the project is informed by the rising demand for traditional vegetables in the cities where members of the middle class are increasingly realising the benefits of the African traditional vegetables. “However, due to constraints in supply informed by a range of challenges including poor logistics; short shelf life of the vegetables and lack of proper data, consumers are finding it difficult to access the product,” he told Business Hub during the opening of a two-day inception workshop in Nairobi.
The Ministry of Agriculture is currently promoting high standard nurseries for traditional vegetables for increased economic empowerment,’ climate resilience, nutrition and food security.