Written by Joseph Abuje
The Programme for Agriculture and Livelihoods in Western Communities (PALWEC) is putting its pieces together to launch a Ksh 3 billion programme aimed at reducing poverty and improving livelihoods and living standards in the Western region of Kenya.
The five year mult-billion initiative will be officially launched by the Rt. Hon.Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister, Republic of Kenya, on the August 31 at the Busia Municipal stadium in Busia County.
The project which was Initiated mid 2010, in Busia County, will cover the seven sub-counties of Teso North, Busia, Butula, Nambale, Samia, Bunyala and Teso South.
Speaking in Busia, during a planning session for the launch yesterday, PALWECO Programme Director Sakwa Mwangala disclosed that the programme will achieve its objectives through improvement of household small-scale storage, decrease of post harvest losses and improvement of household environment.
Mwangala added saying that the programme will also focus on improved nutrition and food security, increase access to social and Agricultural financial capital, improve access to markets, improve services through secondary and feeder roads and make available local market alongside storage infrastructure.
“The implementation phase of the programme, which will commence immediately after the launch will embark on increasing agricultural productivity, creation and strengthening of value chain platforms and support the youth agricultural entrepreneurship initiatives.
Continued the Programme Director “We are looking into various aspects of improving livelihoods, for instance improved competitiveness and increase commercialization of Agriculture, strengthen capacity of extension organizations, provide support to household and strengthen community based organizations”.
PALWECO is a bilateral programme financed by the Government of Kenya and Finland, with the Finnish government providing a 27 million Euro grant and sh 347 million from the Government of Kenya.
To help implement its programs, PALWECO works with the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, District /sub county Administrations and Departments, Community based organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, women, men and youth in the county and the private sector.
Addressing the participants in the launch planning which took place at the Busia Agricultural Training Centre (ATC), Acting Busia District Commissioner John Maingi pointed out the need to capacity build new county officers and directors being posted under the devolved system of government to enable them participate in implementing the project’s objectives.