Agro inputs company Amiran Kenya has launched a low cost irrigation kit in a bid to entice more youths and farmers who cannot afford the more pricey kits at a time when changes in weather pattern is seeing farmers move to new age farming methods to ensure year round supply of their produce.
Dubbed Amiran Foundation Kit, the innovation is aimed at small scale farmers and beginners in agribusiness with limited land, water and finance to test and appreciate smart farming and therefore graduate to large scale agribusiness with larger farm inputs.
The kit is aimed at bridging the wide gap of affordability with most modern greenhouse kits costing over ten times compared to the foundation kit which is retailing at about Sh14,500. The higher prices for modern farming kits like green houses have barred many small scale farmers who have interest but are not able to do so due to the prohibitive prices. “The kit will be a kick starter for the small scale farmers who want to adopt agribusiness.
The farmers will have a chance to start small and grow bit by bit until they are able to afford the modern greenhouses which will set the ball rolling for them to enjoy the benefits of modern agribusiness,” explained Yariv Kedar Amiran Kenya’s Deputy Director. He explained that modern agribusiness does not entirely depend on the prevailing weather patterns as one can produce food throughout the year. This he says, is the best way of also ensuring food security and glorification of agriculture as it gives one uninterrupted income and yields.
The users of the new kit will have a complete package of farm inputs to enable them fully venture into agribusiness of their choice. The package includes drip kit of 15 by 6 meter, a 250 litre solid water tank, a one liter sprayer, instructional growing guides, fertilizer, agro chemicals and high quality seed types. A farmer with this kit can choose to grow various types of crops like cabbage, water melon, kales, and spinach among others. The drip kit can last for over 8 years if well maintained as it is manufactured by Netafim a multinational company that invented drip irrigation.
Amiran introduced the foundation kit based on its three pillars of success knowledge, know-how and high quality inputs while consciously conserving the environment. The kit encourages modern agribusiness regardless of one’s farm size. Yariv noted that, farmers with small pieces of land including those who would want to practice urban farming on their kitchen gardens are now able to make an investment of about Sh14,500 and make returns of about Sh25,000 per season.
The kit is also a relief to small scale farmers from arid and semi-arid areas of the country like Eastern and north Eastern parts of Kenya. Yariv explained, “Using the Amiran Foundation Kit, Farmers are now able to grow all year round and experience high yields while still conserving the scarce resource water, by ensuring that every drop counts through the drip pipes which deliver water directly to the root of the plant, saving between 30 to 60 percent of water as compared to other methods of irrigation.
The introduction of the Amiran Foundation kit is yet another boost to the firm’s ongoing Youth Empowerment directed activities which are spearheaded by the inspirational youthful Kenyan artist Julius Owino aka Juliani. The youth programs aims to see young people come out of the unemployment cycle which has claimed over 70 percent of the youth population in the country.
The company will be selling the Kits to selected Youth groups in the country at a cheaper price of about Sh12,500 in order to encourage the groups to resell the kit at their community level at a profitable price. Yariv added that by doing that, the company will have initiated a business venture for the groups and at the same time, appeal to more youths into farming as fellow youths are in a better position to easily convince their counter parts to adopt the kits.
In addition, Amiran will further train the groups on how to effectively use the Kits as well as equipping them with modern farming techniques and therefore enabling the youth groups trained to offer extension services to their customers.