Innovation Fund for Agriculture and Agri-business
The Innovation Fund is a Grant Fund designed to support innovative initiatives in livestock, crops, fisheries, cooperatives, and irrigation, agroforestry, and value addition activities, among others.
Objectives of the fund include supporting:
- Innovative production and agri-business SRA compliant initiatives such as those that overcome managerial, technological or market challenges;
- Value addition initiatives that enhance farmers' and producers' influence and ownership of benefits from the value chain;
- Piloting of innovative public-private partnerships aimed at delivering critical agricultural services and technologies.
Management of the fund:
The Innovation Fund is managed by Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT). The Trust, which is currently implementing programmes supported by DANIDA, was founded by the Kenya government and the European Union. To broaden stakeholder participation, the Innovation Fund has a committee made up of major stakeholders who are involved in grant approval process.
Who is eligible?
The fund aims at supporting technically and financially viable business oriented initiatives and development of new ideas that can enhance the growth of Kenya's agricultural sector. Funds are granted for the support of initiatives that fall within key areas identified in the SRA and the Kenya Vision 2030.
Applications generated at the provincial, district, and divisional levels as well as other lower levels or those that aim at benefiting stakeholders at these levels are particularly encouraged. The fund also encourages development of projects that involve participation from the public sector with the aim of linking government systems to new partnerships and collaboration with private sector players (public-private partnerships).
Applicants from businesses are expected to have been in operation for at least one year, are duly registered and are able to produce evidence of having an account either in a bank or a financial institution. As a show of commitment, applicants are required to contribute at least 10 per cent towards the cost of the initiative either in kind or cash.
Priority access to fund resources are given to small and medium business at national, provincial, district, divisional, and grassroots level. In addition, support is also given to the following;
- Business member organisations and companies under agriculture and agribusiness sector;
- Farmer and producer cooperatives, organisations and associations;
- Individual initiatives with spill-over benefits to the community;
Support areas include:
1. Production and Technology:
- Production and technology improvements that can enhance efficiency at one or more levels of a value chain;
- Piloting and up-scaling of new ways of public/private partnerships, particularly in extension;
- Initiatives that pilot innovative ways of carrying out extension work;
- Initiatives that aim at moving value addition activities of Kenyan produced raw or semi-processed material from abroad to Kenya;
- Development and implementation of certification and accreditation schemes such as farmers practicing environmental-agricultural production methods;
- Applied research projects aiming at transforming research results into production used by farmers;
- Development of cost effective production technologies, including measures that reduce time lags between production and processing, and processing and marketing;
- Development or up-scaling of processing methods that enhance the utilization of local inputs such as raw materials and labour;
- Activities that reduce or eliminate transaction costs;
- Initiatives that remove constraints in the production system such as in transport and distribution;
- Research and other initiatives that promote the use of communication technology for farmers/producers and agribusiness.
- Market research and development for identifying and opening new markets for Kenyan agricultural products;
- Development of marketing and distribution strategies to support entry of Kenyan products into new markets;
- Development and enforcement of quality and standard systems necessary for access into new markets;
- Support for branding initiatives that enhance the value of Kenyan agricultural products;
- Support for design and products development initiatives, which increase the value of Kenyan manufactured products.
3. Management and Ownership:
- Initiatives that promote farmers' / producers ownership and control of the value chain;
- Initiatives which aim at increasing the small farmer's role in the value chain;
- Activities that promote networking and sharing of information within agriculture and agribusiness;
- Initiatives that promote efficiency and cost cutting measures;
- Development of financial control and information systems needed to support business efficiency.
4. Capacity Building:
- Capacity building of farmers and other primary producers.