The African Development Bank Group has approved the immediate release of US$ 12 million to Kenya to help the country tackle growing food shortages.
The funding will be used to procure and distribute fertilizers to farmers to boost food production during the current cropping season.
The Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture and the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will be responsible for the procurement and distribution of fertilizers.
A press release issued by the bank said the approval is part of the Bank's proposed short-term measures to address the food crisis affecting some of the institution's Regional Member Countries (RMC), through the restructuring of two non-agricultural Bank-funded projects -- the Roads 2000 Project and Education III Project – which made it possible to free up US$12 million.
Approved by the Board of Directors of the Bank Group in Tunis last week, the funding falls within the context of the Africa Crisis Response (AFCR) initiative adopted in July 2008 and provides the framework for accelerated support to RMCs affected by increasing food prices.
According to the release the Bank Group has increased its agricultural portfolio from US$3.8 billion to US$4.8 billion to help reduce food shortages following the outbreak of the crisis, with some US$ 250 million of the amount earmarked for the purchase of fertilizers in RMCs over the next 12 months.
Donald Kaberuka president of the bank group has reiterated the institution's strong commitment to helping the RMCs cope with challenges caused by escalating cereal and raw material prices.