On 17th December 2008, MESPT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit (ASCU) to be the Fund Manager of the Innovation Fund for Agriculture and Agribusiness This is a grant fund that aims to develop innovative initiatives in livestock, crops, fisheries, cooperatives, irrigation, agro-forestry, and value-addition activities, among others. This fund supports:
- Innovative production and agri-business Strategy for Revitilization of Agriculture (SRA) compliant initiatives such as those that overcome managerial, technological or market challenges
- Value addition initiatives, that enhance farmers' or producers' influence and ownership of benefits from the value chain
- Piloting of innovative public-private partnerships aimed at delivering critical agricultural services and technologies
The Strategy for Revitalizing Agriculture (SRA) was launched in March2004 by the Government of Kenya in response to the high priority accorded to the agricultural sector as the engine of economic recovery under the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERS). The Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit (ASCU), which is an Interministerial Unit, was subsequently established to spearhead the implementation of the SRA.
The SRA recognizes the need for a paradigm shift towards an increased role of the private sector in the process of revitalizing and sustaining growth in agriculture. The Strategy in particular defines an enhanced role for the private sector and its stakeholders in production, processing, marketing, quality assurance, advocacy, lobbying, development and promotion as well as service delivery.
This is also in line with the thrust of the Kenya Vision 2030. Historically however, due to capacity and other factors, the performance of the private sector in agriculture has been largely constrained. Thus, an essential component of the SRA is to enhance the capacity of the private and public sectors in agriculture, so as to increase the benefits of synergies arising from more effective public-private partnerships and also facilitate the private sector to play their enhanced role more effectively.
This will be achieved through support to innovative SRA compliant private sector activities or public-private partnerships that promote market driven production, processing and marketing initiatives.