World SME Day June 27th 2022 MESPT Participation

Posted: June 29, 2022
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Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play a critical role in developing economies. They contribute significantly to national economic growth and employment.

And in today’s business world, all enterprises are expected to embed sustainability in their operational models. The relationship between the private sector and the success of the sustainability agenda in Kenya is strengthened by investments in agri-enterprises. Partnerships between MESPT and MSMEs in this respect is a big win.

The Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) works with MSMEs in Kenya to identify agribusiness opportunities and improve their productivity, access to finance, and competitiveness for job creation, especially for youths and women.

MESPT, through funding support by Danida, is implementing the Green Employment in Agriculture Programme (GEAP) that is partnering with 23 MSMEs this year for improved competitiveness of targeted agricultural value chains which contribute to income, greener jobs, and more inclusive growth. This is a principle that one of the MESPT SME partner – KTL Farming Limited – has adopted.

KTL is a privately-owned company that began in 2014 to develop and market the avocado value chain, while supporting sustainable food production, community empowerment, and income development for small-scale farmers and marginalised communities.

Through the agri-SME support, KTL has on-boarded over 1,000 avocado farmers in nine months, targeting the export market in the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) counties.

The critical contribution of MSMEs to broader socio-economic objectives, including job creation, makes them a key priority area for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). KTL, through its partnership with GEAP, has been creating over 50 job opportunities for the youths (both casual and permanent) along the avocado value chain nodes, directly impacting and benefiting local communities by reducing unemployment for youth, increasing income, and enhancing household investments.

KTL, as an SME, has been able to leverage partnerships for increased profitability along the avocado value chain by approximately 30 percent and rising. This has been through increased yields of targeted farmers, not forgetting their adoption of green technologies to protect natural capital and conserve the environment through regenerative practices.

For SMEs to keep creating jobs, increase incomes and contribute to sustainable food systems, there is a need for access to markets, financing, and continuous skills development.

MESPT, as a development organisation, is providing support through affordable, flexible, and patient credit with a focus on upgrading SMEs to make them sustainable through investment in working capital, technological innovations, and capacity development for increased food safety and productivity, driven by market systems demands.

MSMEs are exposed to more sustainability-related risks. Therefore, interventions by development partners such as the European Union and Danida go a long way in empowering them.

MESPT, working with various value chain actors, seeks to create linkages for entrepreneurs and build their capacity to meet the local market demand gaps and facilitate certification for access to export markets. This approach anchors small businesses and reinforces their consistency and reliability as supply chain actors.

Access to finance for MSMEs will help boost investments in agriculture as a key contributor to the country’s economy, whilst building strong market linkages that strengthen trade and investment in agri-value chains.

Through the GEAP programme, MESPT has provided technical and financial assistance to SMEs like KTL, among others, to facilitate their access to regional markets through skills development and business plan implementation.

In conclusion, the journey to the transformation of agriculture in Kenya cannot be articulated without mentioning the MSME’s resilience. Enhancing their capacities will directly contribute to economic transformation of the smallholder farmers, and by extension rural development with a green lens.

Article done by Nation