New programme on water for agriculture in Kenya


KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) partners with SNV Kenya, MetaMeta, Practica Foundation and Aqua for All in a new programme for Kenya which will increase water productivity, income and food security by developing climate-smart and market-led ‘smart water’ solutions. The programma Smart Water for Agriculture is a six million euro four-year (2016-2019) programme, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Kenya.

Market-led water management for farmers
With 90 percent of the country being arid or semi-arid land, highly variable rainfall patterns that are even further exacerbated by climate change, and growing number of water-intensive economic and agricultural activities, water management in agriculture is a big challenge in Kenya. At the same time, the country houses immense opportunities for irrigation and agricultural water storage of which only 12% (1.342 million ha) had been developed by the end of 2013. To realise this huge irrigation potential and face the challenges ahead, there is a need to invest in smart water solutions for agriculture.

By promoting market-led water management solutions, 20.000 farmers will increase their water productivity, to assure their access to water for agricultural production and increase farmers’ incomes. Thereby also increasing food security and improving resilience to climate change. There is a strong focus on women, aiming at at least 50% of the farmers.

Irrigation Acceleration Platforms
Within the program, KIT will focus on the facilitation and establishment of Irrigation Acceleration Platforms, to facilitate collaboration between farmers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Where supply and demand meet and interact, and where innovation will be supported to more adequately satisfy the needs of farmers. KIT also coordinates the rapid integrated county assessments done to prepare the ground for the IAPs and the project in general, working closely together with experts of the Wageningen University and Research.

Furthermore, the program focusses on:
– Improving the use and accessibility to Smart Water products and services by farmers, including an increased range of climate-adaptive and profitable smart water options.
– Support for better access to finance for farmers so they can invest in Smart Water solutions.
– Increasing access to information about Smart Water solutions, to encourage demand and to support a viable market that is attractive to the private sector.
– Brokering business linkages between Kenyan and Dutch companies to catalyse investment in Smart Water services, processes and products scaled for SME farmers.