Living in northern Kenya’s Isiolo and Marsabit counties means facing frequent droughts and climate shocks and, for businesses, often facing isolation from financial services, like loans, and strong markets. ACDI/VOCA’s Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands – Accelerated Growth (REGAL-AG) project, funded by USAID under the Feed the Future initiative, is working to build a more inclusive and competitive livestock value chain.
Opportunities for these value chain actors to engage in economic activities now stand to increase. The REGAL-AG project has awarded KES 300 million-worth of business development grants to 36 entrepreneurs.
With these grants, the 36 recipients established viable livestock-related businesses in late June that will boost livestock production in both counties. More production means more jobs and more earnings, as producers supply their commodities to local markets.
In Marsabit County, Solomon Gubo Riwe, the county’s deputy governor, and Jennifer Maurer, USAID/Kenya’s resilience coordinator, officiated an event for the launch of the new businesses. “Communities benefit directly and indirectly from livestock,” Gubo Riwe said. “Therefore, support from REGAL-AG in expanding livestock production will increase households’ income and resilience.”
Maurer and Mahamoud Haji, an Isiolo County government official from the Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Development, officiated a similar event in Isiolo County.
“Poultry production was previously not popular among pastoral communities. However, since REGAL-AG awarded grants to poultry production businesses, it is now widely practiced, and this has steadily improved the livelihood of our people.” — Mahamoud Haji, an Isiolo County government official
The business development grants will cover the cost of constructing business facilities and purchasing equipment. The 36 entrepreneurs will also mentor others in their communities on how to engage in livestock-related business and scale up their production to endure the effects of climate shocks as the local economy grows.