By Julius Kericho
The AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF), a private foundation committed to ending hunger through sustainable agricultural development, today announced the second phase of a USD $125,000 project partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) to respond to climate change and food insecurity in the Dadaab Refugee Complex.
The project began this month, with the goal of restoring degraded land, strengthening refugees’ food security and income levels, and increasing the production of diverse, nutritious foods.
The Dadaab Refugee Complex falls within the expansive arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) of Kenya, characterized by hot, dry weather and high rates of evapotranspiration interspersed with occasional ﬂooding in poorly drained areas. Dramatic changes in weather patterns have caused prolonged drought and extreme rainfall, placing 209,584 refugees and 200,000 host community members living near the border of Kenya and Somalia in dire need of food and financial support.
Funded by the AAF, the first phase of the project focused on meeting agricultural and nutritional demands of refugees and host communities through the establishment of a mechanized farm for pivot irrigation and crop production.
“Climate change is a serious threat to the livelihood and food security of many marginalized farming communities. The impact reported from the initial phase of our project in the Dadaab Refugee Complex has propelled us to expand the project deliverables and continue this strategic partnership with the KRCS,” said Metti Richenhagen, Director, AGCO Agriculture Foundation. “This project demonstrates our commitment to address climate change and help farmers in the Dadaab camp and host community improve their soil health and build resilient food systems.”
The second phase of the project will support 6,000 beneficiaries in the Ifo 2 refugee camp and the host community. The goal is to promote climate-smart agriculture and soil fertility management practices, strengthen farmers’ skills in modern irrigation and mechanized agriculture, and create employment opportunities for vulnerable communities.
The KRCS will help farmers establish and manage their farms as well as connect them with local markets. The vegetable crops, lentils and leguminous grass that will be grown during this project phase will support the livelihoods of local farmers and their families.
The project is also supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which maintains the water infrastructure serving the pivot farm and provides logistical support. The Kenya County Government of Garissa donated the parcel of land for the project and helps identify vulnerable community members who can benefit the most from the program.
“The AAF’s strong partnership and funding have enabled us to advance our work towards climate change adaptation and food security for the Dadaab refugees and host community. This second phase of this project is the right next step to ensuring access to nutrition and improving the livelihoods of refugees and their host community,” said Dr. Asha Mohammed, Secretary-General, Kenya Red Cross Society.