Heavens have smiled on the over 2,000 households who now easily access over 40 new markets, added value to over 20 products and built over 30 savings scheme, in an ambitious programme dubbed Mangoes from above. The project, now in among other districts, Mwingi, Murang'a, Yatta, and Ndia, is hinged on the fact that hundreds of thousands of farmers in the area had the will and zeal to farm, but were struggling with markets and lasting methods to channel their farming ventures.
The project now in its fourth year has also revived and strengthened older farmer markets that had collapsed due to mistrust and poor pay. Although dubbed Mangoes from above due to the nature of the fruit that was common with most of the farmers when the project began, the project now incorporates various other horticultural produces.
Sustainable Agriculture Community Development Programmes (SACDEP) Kenya, the indigenious NGO behind the project say the impact of the project in terms of increase in household revenue and more markets opening up to the farmers' ventures has motivated them to increase awareness to more districts in the country. “The beauty is in seeing farmers realize the benefits with value addition including why processing raw products rather than supplying the raw products to producers is financially better,”said Jackie Watiri one of the programme officers.
The project is hinged on three areas. Access to markets, value addition and Savings and credit scheme. Under the Access to markets approach farmers are encouraged to grow as many horticultural produces as possible with SACDEP then vouching for buyers. The farmers then sit with the buyers and negotiate on terms which they then put in writing. “This include the quality of the produce we have to deliver, consistency of our supplies and how to do the deliveries. The producers on their end are expected to stick to terms of timely payment and pay the farmers attractive package to encourage more farming,”said Ruth Kiragu the chairlady of Kimuri farmers group in Gatundu.
Since the project was rolled out in Gatundu, over 1,000 new farmers have gone in horticultural farming with kales, french beans and potatoes forming the bulk of the goods sold.
In Nyandarua where the value addition aspect of the model has taken root, the farmers, using proceeds from their goods to buy modest processing equipments, have ventured into cassava flour, banana crisps and carrot juice among others. Half a kilo of the cassava flour, which is made of three cassavas goes for Sh120. The three raw cassava fetches Sh30. “Minus the processing expenses we save a lot. In a month from all these value addition ventures we manage to save some Sh300,000 to Sh400,000 a month,”said Hillary Rugendo a member of Sire Farmers group in Nyandarua.
But the money they get require to be put to good use in order to sustain the projects in the long run and give them financial competitive edge while seeking financial support. The savings and credit schemes have therefore come in handy. With these registered schemes they have now opened bank accounts with Equity Bank, K rep Bank and Unaitas Sacco being among their favourites. “It also means we leave something small in our kitty should a member need emergency funding. In our account we have over Sh5million now,”said Ruth whose group has 15 members.
The project is estimated to have further injected some Sh100million in the four years since it started, money now held in banks and other financial institutions.
Written by Aloyse Muinde for African Laughter
Newer news items:
- Farmers trap sun rays to fight pests - 13/03/2013 15:13
- Ostrich farming rises on new markets and health conscious consumers - 08/03/2013 13:43
- Farmers gain from multinationals' hunger for raw materials - 08/03/2013 13:32
- Masts to measure weather and refrigerate vaccines - 28/02/2013 15:50
- Kenyan tree farm redefines farming in Rwanda - 27/02/2013 17:21
Older news items:
- Farmers win big as customers go for neglected yam - 13/02/2013 12:18
- Kenya courts electronic tongue to test tea - 07/02/2013 15:08
- Tech that captures fish sound on laptop saves rare species - 06/02/2013 15:57
- Fund introduces loans for egg incubators - 06/02/2013 12:19
- Western farmers to own cows thanks to Mumias - 05/02/2013 11:04