Although the House and Senate remain in a stalemate over what to cut or keep in the controversial Farm Bill, the Obama administration is proceeding with its own plan for farmers – in and around Kenya.
The East Africa Regional Construction initiative overall could cost U.S. taxpayers $210 million.
Pack-house and cold-storage facility construction “appropriate to the Kenyan rural environment” is the first step, according to a Request for Proposals from contractors that U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor discovered via routine database research.
In the request, the U.S. Agency for International Development identified only the Kenyan endeavor, which aims to help farmers properly store products such as broccoli, sweet corn, potatoes and peppers.
The Kenyan project is just one facet of a broader initiative. The agency said it expects to award up to four design and construction contracts – each with a maximum value of $75 million – across East Africa over five years.
However, it did not disclose the specific cost of the initiative’s Kenyan segment.
USAID said the project will be advantageous for Kenyan farmers in Kitui County, as the new facility will expand the ability of small growers and farmer associations to ship their products to “other domestic or export markets.”
This “marketing flexibility” will allow them to sell produce at a more appropriate time, as the new cooling and storage facilities will make it unnecessary to sell produce immediately after harvest.
The construction initiative comes as Obama separately has vowed to send many hundreds of millions of dollars in additional aid to African energy programs.
Similarly, during the “President and First Lady’s Africa Trip,” as the White House touts the purportedly $100 million visit, Obama unveiled the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
The fellowship, beginning next year, “will bring more than 500 young African leaders to the United States each year for leadership training and mentoring,” the administration announced.
Program fellows – whose numbers Obama hopes to double in subsequent years – will gain access to millions of dollars in business and NGO start-up grants through the U.S. African Development Foundation and the U.S. Department of State, it said.
One year ago, the Monitor reported the administration’s spending on Kenya had become so voluminous that USAID was asking for more contractors to oversee the work.
A recent report said the agency – after covering up its propaganda plan to sway U.S. and international media views on U.S. assistance to Kenya – has repackaged its contractor-support plan.
Although USAID admittedly cannot adequately manage the numerous initiatives it has launched in Kenya, cost-wise, overall aid dropped from a high of $830 million in FY 2009 to $460 million in FY 2013.
Nonetheless, the monitor has continued to reveal new programs unfolding under Obama, including:
- A $50 million project to help decentralize national power while increasing power at the county level, despite the risk of creating 47 equally corrupt county systems.
- A nationwide reading project – with a still-undisclosed cost – that seeks to improve the skills of children in tens of thousands of Kenyan schools.
- Peace initiatives providing “reflective workshops” and “trauma education” to warring clans and tribes in and around Kenya. The administration acknowledged that chronic cattle rustling and other cultural practices – such as killing rivals “to prove their manhood or impress young women” – might impede the success of this program.
This article oriignally was published July 3 via WND.com. Under agreement with WND, rights have reverted back to the author, Steve Peacock.