Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a lasting foundation for progress against global hunger. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future aims to assist millions of vulnerable women, children, and family members to escape hunger and poverty, while also reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.
Over the next five years in Kenya, Feed the Future aims to help an estimated 502,000 vulnerable Kenyan women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 230,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.
To meet its objectives, Feed the Future Kenya is making core investments in three key areas:
Feed the Future is targeting high-rainfall areas with dense populations, high poverty and malnourishment, as well as semi-arid areas. Both areas have great potential for raising agricultural productivity. These target areas also encompass the highest concentrations of malnourished children, female-headed households, and rural poor.
Science and Technology. U.S. support to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute focuses on research on crops for the semi-arid zone, including improved seeds, pest control, and food safety for maize, sorghum, millet, sweet potato, cowpea, and pigeon pea. Feed the Future also works with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services to increase quality and availability of drought-tolerant crops and varieties.
Engaging Women and Youth. Feed the Future supports activities that empower women and improve the nutritional status of women and children. Women manage an estimated 44 percent of Kenya’s smallholder households and are active at every point in the food chain. Their contribution to commodities, grown mainly in home gardens, is quite significant, providing essential nutrients and often the only food available during the lean seasons or when the main harvest fails. Feed the Future will also engage youth in farming, processing and trading to relieve high levels of youth unemployment. More than 67 percent of the under- and unemployed in Kenya are young women and men of 15 to 30 years of age.
Value Chains. Feed the Future is focusing its efforts on improving several key agricultural value chains: horticulture, dairy and maize for the High Rainfall (HR) areas; and drought-tolerant crops (sorghum/millet and root crop systems), drought-tolerant maize, horticulture, and pulses for Semi-Arid (SA) areas. Attention is focused on every “link” in the value chain—from inputs like fertilizer and seeds, to credit, to production methods, storage, transport, processing, farmers’ cooperatives, and markets in Kenya, East Africa and overseas.
MAIZE AND DROUGHT-TOLERANT STAPLE CROP VALUE CHAIN
Kenya’s maize sub sector is approaching a critical time when input supply characteristics, land reform, availability of supporting factors of production, and market price dynamics will define the competitiveness of the industry in the mid- to long term. This environment presents an opportune moment for the USG’s current and future investments. At the same time, there has been a dearth of investment in alternative staple crops and, as a result, there is a lack of data. In collaboration with the private sector, FTF will support value chain assessments that deepen and fill gaps in existing knowledge – especially related to these crops in SA2 – to inform the FTFS’ further implementation and private sector investments.
As noted, yields of staple crops in Kenya are low relative to regional averages. Addressing productivity issues in maize and drought-tolerant staples will be a key focus. Promoting improved transfer of technologies will require investment in agricultural research to develop improved technologies. This will be especially important for the neglected drought-tolerant crops. Equally important is the dissemination of knowledge of these technologies, accompanying management practices, the extension services to transfer knowledge on how best to use technologies, and the commercialization and dissemination of technologies to farmers who need them. Consequently interventions will leverage private sector partners in concert with public sector extension services (although limited in certain counties of the two focus areas) to disseminate and commercialize improved technologies through ―smart‖ extension methods, e.g., ICT.
Achieving productivity growth also will require program investments to promote improved access to high-quality inputs that are affordable and provide the knowledge (extension services) on how to use them optimally, including improving input use efficiency through proper soil and water management techniques. Seed and fertilizer companies and agro-dealers will play key roles in setting up demonstration plots and holding ―farmer field days‖ so that farmers can learn about different varieties and practices. Efforts will be made by the Mission to incorporate gender awareness and nutrition- and food preparation-related messaging during those ―field days.‖ The seed and fertilizer companies have also begun to package inputs into smaller quantities, thereby more affordable to poor farmers. The current KMDP is working through its sub-grantees, like Farm Input Promotions (FIPS) – which uses samples of inputs (i.e., seeds, fertilizers, etc.) donated by private companies – for demonstration on farmers’ fields, provides extension information, and sells inputs in small affordable packages, an approach that has been effective in increasing access to inputs and extension services to women.
Market access will be essential to increasing smallholder incomes. The Mission will facilitate a more structured market for staple food crops by: 1) increasing smallholder farmers’ understanding of end-market requirements; 2) facilitating access to training to meet end-market requirements; and 3) improving farmers’ market intelligence and capacity to make informed decisions. Public and private sector investments in storage and centralized market infrastructure will improve the benefits smallholders gain from market engagement and lead to increases in rural household incomes.
Regarding sorghum, market outlets seek varieties with high milling and brewing qualities, and subsistence farmers require high-yielding varieties with specific taste, color and cooking characteristics. The segmentation of these varieties and products to meet the specific market demands has not been done and, as a result, farmers’ marketing strategies are ―hit or miss.‖ Hence, the program will segment the market niches and match the niches to sorghum varieties and products. This approach will highlight the opportunities for farmer organizations to deliver to the segmented market outlets through the segmented sorghum varieties and products.
Fostering investments by the private sector as well as access to rural finance will be essential to the sustainability and scalability of productivity improvements. Kenya has a vibrant private sector hungry for profitable opportunities. To both meet the development challenges and make a profit, USAID/K will use its new Innovation Engine (see below) to buy down the risks for private sector investments in innovative areas. To improve access to rural finance, the Mission’s program, along with USAID/EA's FTFS program-related activities, will:
By tapping into the networks of EAGC, the activities will help build regional linkages for traders. In addition, access to rural finance will be further improved through USAID's recently commenced Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprises (FIRM) project which – in collaboration with the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) – will improve productivity and growth of agricultural value chains through expanded financial services to underserved groups, geographic locations and new product areas. FIRM will facilitate opportunities for agribusiness development and overall market efficiencies through a package of financial services to vulnerable groups, including young and female smallholder farmers in rural and agricultural sectors.
Value chain development in HR1 and SA2 will require the aggregation of farmers in order to facilitate access to markets, services, financing and technology transfer. Previously, the KMDP contributed to the development of farmer associations, including women associations, in the Western Province and Rift Valley and will continue to do so in the targeted FTFS counties of those provinces. Consequently, the FTFS program will strengthen farmer groups, associations and cooperatives where they can effectively benefit their members.
A key outcome of KMDP from 2002-2010 was to foster a more responsive policy environment for the maize sub-sector. Despite KMDP's involvement in a relatively successful decade of reform, the maize sector and, to a large extent, other staple crops are still characterized by highly guarded value chain positions and often distorted policy. Consequently, the FTFS program will be a strong advocate of a market-driven approach at the national level, providing a key voice to discussions regarding GOK agricultural policies and simultaneously strengthening value chain players to advocate for better policies. The planned continuation of USAID support to the Tegemeo Institute, for example, will play a key role in advocacy based upon empirical evidence to further bolster the GOK policy dialogue.
Finally, promoting NRM and adaptation to climate change will be needed to support the sustainability of impacts under FTF. This will involve the inclusion of sustainable intensification practices (―climate smart‖ practices) in staple crop production including: 1) soil management techniques, such as conservation agriculture and integrated soil fertility management; 2) the inclusion of fertilizer and fodder trees into annual crop production systems (―evergreen agriculture‖); 3) water efficiency measures, such as rainwater capture and storage; and 4) integrated pest management. The ―climate smart‖ practices will be used in combination with drought-tolerant varieties of seeds and inputs to increase productivity, fertilizer use efficiency and climate resilience. While access to and sustainable management of natural resources will be a central theme regardless of income group or geographic area, it is particularly key to addressing the vulnerability of the poorest and most food insecure.
The Mission is currently reviewing options for reinforcing its existing monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework by establishing a comprehensive knowledge management system that builds links to ongoing initiatives aimed at strengthening U.S. Government, national and regional agriculture sector-wide M&E and knowledge management.
USAID/K will link to the GOK-led and CAADP-mandated ―National Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System‖ which will serve as a mutually agreed framework for performance monitoring towards the goal of increasing food security. The Mission also will link its knowledge management system to the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), an information and knowledge management initiative, to promote and support effective and sustainable agricultural and rural development strategies across Africa. Through ReSAKSS, the Mission will collaborate with the USAID/EA and other Missions in Africa in tracking intra-regional trade data. The Mission will also use ReSAKSS to provide meta-analyses contributing to synthesized studies suitable for shared learning by numerous stakeholders.
The Mission will utilize the following tools in establishing and maintaining its M&E efforts: The Mission’s FTFS Results Framework which is the conceptual and analytical structure that establishes the goals and objectives of the FTF Initiative in Kenya; A performance monitoring/management plan (PMP) comprised of standard and custom FTF performance indicators to track progress toward desired results. Data systems will be developed and refined based on findings of a Mission-wide data quality assessment (DQA) carried out in March/April 2011; Tegemeo Institute poverty analyses in conjunction with Africa Bureau/Sustainable Development Office (AFR/SD); The Mission will undertake local capacity-building investments to improve the quality and frequency of data collection and use; Biannual independent indicator surveys by Tegemeo Institute to gauge progress made towards achieving results and a feedback loop to improve performance; Mid-term and impact evaluations will be carried out to determine the measureable effects of the FTFS investments; and The Mission will engage in regular knowledge-sharing activities with FTFS development partners and implementers to foster learning and use of M&E findings.
Number of new technologies or management practices made available for transfer as a result of USG assistance; Number of rural households benefiting directly from USG interventions; Number of producers organizations, water users associations, trade and business associations, and community-based organizations (CBOs) receiving USG assistance; Percentage of children < 5 years who are underweight
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