Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has partnered with ENI group to increase biofuel crop production in Arid and Semiarid Lands (ASAL) of the country. The project aims to make use of the underutilized land in ASAL areas to grow crops such as castor oil, croton, and cotton, which do not compete with the food supply chain. This initiative is expected to improve agricultural production and create economic opportunities for the communities in these regions.

Kenya’s landmass is 80% arid and semi-arid areas, and this project is expected to provide a dependable income source for the locals and improve their economic status. The project, led by the Department of Crop Development under the guidance of Principal Secretary Kello Harsama, will involve training and providing technical support to farmers on modern agro-forestry techniques.

ENI has already supported over 50,000 farmers across 11 counties and established a processing plant in Makueni County with an annual production capacity of 15,000 tons. Plans are underway to launch a second agri-hub in the latter half of 2023, with a target to produce 200,000 tonnes by 2026. The project aims to cover more than 200,000 farmers and 200,000 hectares, significantly impacting the lives of the communities.

Principal Secretary Kello Harsama noted the initiative’s potential to improve the livelihoods of the communities in the ASAL regions and increase the country’s agricultural output. The project is expected to transform the communities’ livelihoods by providing a reliable income source and boosting the economic conditions in the ASAL areas.