Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Launched in October of 2017, the Feed the Future Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Development Activity (KCDMSD) is a five-year USAID program, funded as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative that helps to increase agricultural production and reduce poverty and malnutrition in Kenya. KCDMS operates in 12 counties and is aimed at improving the overall agricultural landscape in Kenya for horticulture (mango, passion fruit, avocado, banana, pineapple, and sweet potato) and dairy with a focus on five priority areas:

  • A competitive, inclusive and resilient agricultural market system;
  • Diverse agricultural production and improved productivity;
  • An improved policy environment for market systems development;
  • Integration of women and youth into agricultural market systems; and
  • Collaborative action and learning for market systems change and technology adoption.

As a Feed the Future initiative, KCDMS will contribute significantly to the core GFSS Strategic objectives including:

KCDMS’s primary route to achieving these objectives is by transforming agricultural market systems to enable intensification and diversification into higher value commodities and non-farm activities. The KCDMS theory of change operates across the Global Food Security Strategy Objectives and posits that growth in agricultural market systems is predicated on the ability of market systems actors to take risks at the individual, production, and business levels and to absorb economic, sociopolitical, environmental, and demographic shocks.  

Transforming Kenyan Agriculture Through Market Systems

Market pull interventions will reduce business risk, while pushing productivity gains that enable farmers with increased profits the potential to step up into competitive value chains, as well as linking to higher-value crops, value-addition activities, and non-farm employment and enterprises. The resulting intensification and diversification of horticulture, dairy, feed and fodder will increase food availability, smooth cash flows, promote dietary diversity, and improve natural resource management. These, in turn, will lead to higher incomes, better health outcomes, and improved household resilience. Moreover, the transformation of predominantly agricultural areas will help households without on-farm profit potential to step out of agriculture into vibrant rural economies.

The inclusive market systems approach, however, includes not only private sector strengthening along the entire value chain, but also strategic interventions in the broader market system including: social mobilization and empowerment of women and youth; social change communication to influence attitudes and perceptions, promote social inclusion and greater dietary diversity; policy interventions to create a more enabling environment; and, facilitating change in the broader institutional environment such as access to information, financial services, insurance, and credit. An important focus on this approach is on the emphasis on long term sustainability of these changes, rather than short term reactions by market actors to external provision.

Facilitating Market Growth and Empowering Women and Youth

The Partnership and Innovation Fund (PIF) is a key tool through which the KCDMS team facilitates interventions via market actors. The success of the PIF rests on the implementation of a robust yet flexible grant and procurement management process that allows for intervention at various scales and a wide range of beneficiaries

KCDMS developed a tailored grant process targeted at encouraging women and youth-led agricultural enterprises and other organization to access funding to support their business growth and targeted implementation. In the first year, KCDMS released an RFA intended for established women and youth groups seeking growth, as well as NGOs, CBOs and BDS providers with a vision to lead the implementation of women and youth’s meaningful engagement in agriculture. In the first year, 68 proposals were received and reviewed by the KCDMS technical team with approximately 35 proposals shortlisted for consideration.


The Feed the Future Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems activity is led by RTI International in partnership with including East Africa Market Development Associates (EAMDA), Farm Inputs Promotion Africa (FIPS), Making Cents International, Open Capital Advisors, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and Busara Centre for Behavioral Economics.

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