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Busia to benefit from a 3bn agricultural program

04 April 2012, 14:21 Oduor Omondi

Busia County is set to benefit from a joint agricultural program being sponsored by the government of Finland in partnership with the Kenya government at a cost of KES 3 billion.

The program dubbed Programme for Agriculture and Livelihoods in Western Communities (PALWECO) is aimed at reducing the prevalence of poverty in Western Kenya and is set to run for 5 years.

Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Permanent Secretary, Edward Sambili, said the program comes at a time when Busia County continues to experience high levels of poverty estimated at 69% by the Kenya Intergrated Household Budget Survey, 2005/06, which is above the national average of 46%.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Rural Planning Development, Joseph Mukui, the P.S. pointed out that Busia County experiences other developmental challenges such as low agricultural productivity, poor access roads, poorly maintained market infrastructure, food insecurity and poor nutritional status among other challenges.

Finish Embassy representative at the forum held in a Kisumu hotel, Mariajana Pekkola, hinted out that that the Finish government will fund 80% of the program while the Kenyan government will contribute the remaining 20%.

She said PALWECO will be implemented through three components; household economy, agricultural value chain and support functions.

PALWECO Program Director, Sakwa Mwangala pointed out that Busia County was chosen because of the high poverty index among its population of 736,300 people according to estimates in a 2009 survey. He added that resource distribution will be dependent on community’s needs and population.

Mwangala said the implementation of the project in other counties will be subject to the first phase success in Busia.

The program will cover Busia, Butula, Bunyala, Nambale, Samia, Teso North and Teso South Districts.

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