Farming is one of the main economic activities in Nakuru County. With 60% of the county’s population employed directly in the agricultural sector, it is apparent that agrarian segment plays a critical role not only in food provision but also in generation of employment opportunities.
In spite of agriculture being the major source of income for over a million farmers in Nakuru County, about 50% of rural population, people who depend on agriculture for their livelihood are classified as poor.
The demand for various agricultural produce keeps on growing, however farmers in Nakuru County have not been able to exploit this opportunity due to a number of constraints such as over reliance on rain-fed agriculture; high cost of farm inputs; limited knowledge on good agricultural practices; limited access to markets and market information; lack of adequate knowledge in value addition; poor infrastructure such as impassable roads and dilapidated markets among a myriad of other factors.
However, this situation is about to change as Nakuru County has been selected among other twenty-one counties, where the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Project (NARIGP) is being implemented.
According to Mr. Njoroge Githunguri, who is also the County Project Coordinator, NARIG-P is designed in an innovative way that brings together the National, the selected County Governments and a development partner (World Bank) to chart away in helping empower small-holder farmers economically for social inclusivity.
‘The objective of the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project is to address the main constraints that hinder the growth of the agricultural sector in the Kenya by increasing agricultural productivity and profitability’, says Githunguri.
NARIG-P is participatory in its approach as it aims at involving and giving a voice to the targeted farming communities in during the implementation process.
‘The project’s seven guiding principles underpin the rationale of community involvement in an effort of reducing vulnerability of rural poor who are mainly farmers and target beneficiaries of the project’, says Njoroge Githunguri.
The County Coordinating Unit will identify specific wards and farmers’ groups which will be empowered to sustainably take control of their livelihood strategies and with minimal support implement the project.
A holistic approach has been adopted by the County Coordinating Unit to cover the four investment windows. Gender strategies will be developed for each project component, and targets setfor the participation of women and youth in the project.
In Nakuru County, the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) targets to boost four (4) value chains: dairy, apiculture (Beekeeping), poultry and maize. These value-chains have been carefully selected using the set-out criteria both by the development partner working together with all the stakeholders
NARIG-P will be implemented in five sub-counties of Nakuru, namely: Kuresoi-North, Molo, Naivasha, Njoro and Bahati. Twenty wards in these sub-counties will benefit.
The project will also integrate Sustainable Land Management practices in the development of Value-Chains (VCs) selected by counties and communities alike. As well as undertake a range ofactivities that are aimed at reducing stigma towards those infected by HIV/AIDS and contributing towards preventing further spread.
The selection of participating communities will be guided by the following underlying principles; regional balancing to ensure equitable sharing of project benefits across the sub-counties;available data and facts to ensure that selected areas are based on available socio-economic data on production potential, population density, poverty rates, under-nutrition levels, and vulnerabilities.