Farmer peer groups drive faster technology adoption

A farmer to farmer training model has been credited with the fast adoption of technology in farming as over 50 farmer groups mostly led by women count increased income as a result.

Kiia Self Help Group in Mwingi, has hosted 27 farmers from ACK- funded projects in Kajiado, Makueni and Machakos areas. Visitors come to learn from peer farmers in the Kiia Self Help Group, with the group having learnt the greenhouse technology just seven months before they started teaching it to others.

In 2013, when CWS took 55 farmers from a Mwingi village in Eastern Province to Kiambu county to learn about greenhouse farming technology, little did Kija Self Help Group know soon they would become a role model for others to learn from.

With the help of Church World Service (CWS), a not for profit organization, peer farmwe training has become key for communities to undertake farming as a business and to keep their eyes focused on achieving sustainable farming businesses in spite of the harsh weather conditions

“We should change our strategies and stop keeping farmers in a subsistence food production mode”, says CWS Regional Director Daniel Tyler. “They teach you during driving lessons to keep your eyes focused on the road ahead. While driving and looking ahead, everything in front of the car will automatically be taken care of,” Tyler explained to program staff. “If farmers in Africa started to view farming as a business, their basic household food security would be sorted out along the way,” he said.

And the impact is already being felt.
“The demand for our produce is overwhelming – we can’t meet the demand and some customers are waiting for over a week to get their supply of fresh vegetables,” said Nelson Munyasia, chairman of the Kiia Community Greenhouse project.

To enable the farmers to satisfy the local market for vegetables, CWS has provided the Kiia community with four additional greenhouse units.

Now, Mama Sammy, the chairlady of Kija Self Help Group and her group of 200 members have achieved food security and economic security through the sale of their vegetables. In addition, they also are helping other communities start farming businesses by sharing their learnings with their peers.