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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Thursday launched a 162-million-shilling (1.5 million U.S. dollars) project targeting host and refugee communities in Turkana County, northwest Kenya.

Carla Mucavi, FAO representative in Kenya, said in a statement issued on Thursday the project, dubbed the Refugee Agricultural Value Chains for Economic Self-Reliance (RAVES), will be implemented in the next four years.

The program, funded by the IKEA Foundation, identified the groundnuts as a potential crop for sustainable income generation as well as nutrition security for both the host and refugee communities.

FAO said a total of 9,000 direct beneficiaries are expected to benefit from this project, with a gross farmer income of 2.5 million dollars by year four. The target is to produce 12,000 tonnes of groundnuts per year by the end of the project period.

“Agriculture is undoubtedly the key driver in transforming the lives and livelihoods of refugee and host communities in Turkana County,” Mucavi said.

The UN food agency said it is also working with the Turkana County government to develop a groundnut production and marketing strategy. Already, 15,000 tonnes of groundnut seed has been purchased to kick-start the commercial production.

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