GEAP Launched During MESPT’S 20TH Anniversary

Posted: March 22, 2022
Comments: 0

Thursday, 17th March 2022

On 17th March 2022, MESPT celebrated its 20 years of presence in Kenya and consequently officially launched the new 5-year programme titled ‘Green Employment in Agriculture Programme (GEAP) funded by DANIDA.

The 20th anniversary celebrations and GEAP launch took place at KTL Farm Kitalale, Kitale in Trans Nzoia County. In his speech, the Board of Trustees Chairman Mr. Noah Meely noted that, “The Trust has been a channel of socio-economic growth to the Kenyan people (mainly smallholder farmers and MSMEs) for 20 years by way of strengthening the agriculture value chains.”  He further noted that “MESPT would not have come this far without the support of our founders; the Government of Kenya through the National Treasury and The Royal Danish Embassy – DANIDA and partners who have journeyed with us over the years.”

For 2 decades, MESPT has earned a reputation of building a more prosperous society by providing sustainable solutions that solve social, economic, and environmental challenges.  Through a development model that enables small holder farmers to access credit, increase agricultural productivity and access markets, the Trust plays a critical role in financial inclusion and has implemented 12 Agri based programmes that contribute to our country’s food security, as well as promoted interventions that conserve the environment and our natural resources.

While giving an overview of the launched programme, GEAP Programme Manager Ms. Doreen Kinoti stated that the target of the programme is to impact 40,000 smallholder farmers in 13 selected counties of Kilifi, Kwale, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Siaya, Kisii, Kakamega, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Makueni, Machakos and Tana River. The programme will facilitate increased commercialization, decent employment, and green transformation through targeted interventions in eleven selected agriculture value chains that include, Dairy, Export Vegetables, Mango, Avocado, Indigenous Chicken, Coconut, Aquaculture, Pineapple, Cassava and Moringa.

GEAP Programme in Trans Nzoia County will support farmers and MSMEs specifically in export vegetables, avocado, and indigenous chicken value chains. The interventions in the 13 counties will aim at facilitating the enhancement of market access and MSME Development for the target value chain actors, facilitating increased awareness and access to financial services, facilitating enhanced food safety and increased productivity, and promoting green transformation in the country.  MESPT’s partnership with the county governments is strategic and meant to realize better results for communities. Each of the selected counties has already entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Trust on the modalities of implementing the programme.

The Head of Finance & Administration Mr. Charles Nyawade who was representing MESPT CEO noted that “ MESPT will work very closely with the selected county governments to identify partners and mobilize farmers into the programme, facilitate and support county level agricultural training and extension services to smallholder farmers,  partner with the county to supports MSMEs access to market infrastructure on a cost sharing basis, promote uptake of resource efficient, clean and climate sensitive technologies & solutions by ensuring that deserving MSMEs are supported, support organization of key stakeholders through relevant forums and workshops, support the development of a functional food safety system including setting up of County Food Safety Technical Committees,  contribute towards effective governance of the cooperative sector while encouraging the establishment of cooperatives and promoting value addition by cooperatives as some of the avenues for job creation within the counties”.

The occasions’ chief guest, Trans Nzoia deputy governor Dr Stanley Tarus called on residents to embrace crop diversification to uplift living standards of farmers in the county. Speaking during the event, Dr. Tarus said that over reliance on maize has corroded the county’s food security. The deputy governor applauded the initiative made by MESPT in promoting other Agricultural Value Chains in the county noting that it will help the farmers reap more from their farming and as a result improve their income streams. The deputy governor was accompanied by several county officials among them the county’s executive committee member for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Crop management – Hon. Mary Nzomo and the county’s executive committee member for Trade, Commerce, and Industry – Hon. Simon Kisege.

Others who graced the occasion included MESPT Board members, staff, founder, development partner and donor, the Royal Danish Embassy representatives. In addition to the Trans Nzoia County government officials and the local residents were Agri SMEs who will be providing the markets for small holder farmers, farmer groups representatives, financial institutions that will be facilitating financial access and inclusion, green solution providers who will be facilitating green transformation and other partner county government representatives that included CECMs for Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Luciana Sanzua – Kilifi County, Hon. Nzioka Kingola -Makueni County, Hon. Dr. Elizabeth A. Odhiambo – Siaya County, Hon. CPA Geoffrey Omulayi -Kakamega County, Hon. Esman Onsarigo -Kisii County and Hon. Dr. Immaculate Maina -Nakuru County.

MESPT’s focus on the agricultural sector is informed by its critical contribution to Kenya’s economic development notably through informal employment creation especially for the marginalized. Agriculture is one of the key drivers of economic growth in Kenya accounting for 35.4% of the GDP in 2019/2020 and 75% of the population earning all or part of their income from the sector.  Agriculture sector directly employs more than 40% of the total population of which more than 70% are in rural areas and it also accounts for 65% of export earnings.

MESPT’s existing programme portfolio has 3 key flagship programmes namely, AgriFI Food Safety Systems for Value Chain Competitiveness 2018 -2023, DMDP Spurring Job Creation in Kenya by Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Banana Sub Sector in Taveta 2020 -2024 and the Green Employment in Agriculture Programme 2021-2025. Through this portfolio, MESPT will continue to undertake strategies that contribute to increased access to credit for agribusiness MSMEs as well as facilitating local and export market linkages for the farmers. Additionally, to support the sector, MESPT is rolling out a new access to finance strategy which will see small holder farmers and agri SMEs benefit from financial instruments that are affordable, flexible, patient and easy to access.