In Nyandarua County’s Njabini area, a groundbreaking initiative called Farmers Together is revolutionizing potato farming for over 5,000 households. By employing a cooperative model, this project clusters approximately 20 farmers into producer groups, enabling them to harness the benefits of economies of scale. Through collaborative efforts, farmers are witnessing a remarkable doubling of yields, enhanced income, and improved access to essential farming inputs.
Collective Purchasing and Reduced Costs
Under the Farmers Together model, participating farmers pool their resources to collectively purchase farming inputs such as potato seedlings, fertilizer, and manure. This approach eliminates the need for individual purchases and effectively reduces costs. By cutting out middlemen, farmers can secure these inputs at a reduced price, making them more affordable and accessible to all members of the producer groups.
Financial and Agribusiness Training for Empowerment
Farmers enrolled in Farmers Together not only gain access to affordable inputs but also receive comprehensive financial and agribusiness training. These training programs equip farmers with vital skills in budgeting, debt management, and savings. By empowering farmers with financial literacy, the project aims to enhance their financial stability and promote sustainable agricultural practices.
Efficient Crop Management Practices for Enhanced Yields
Farmers Together emphasizes efficient crop management practices that balance high yields with environmental sustainability. Through a well-designed crop rotation schedule that considers climate patterns and market changes, producer groups have witnessed a doubling of yields on their plots. This optimized approach ensures that farmers maximize their productivity while minimizing negative ecological impacts.
Collective Harvesting and Direct Wholesaler Access
The project’s success extends beyond farming practices. Farmers Together has implemented a collective harvesting schedule, allowing different producer groups to harvest their crops simultaneously. This synchronized approach enables farmers to cost-effectively connect with wholesalers directly, eliminating intermediaries and securing higher profit margins for themselves. By streamlining the supply chain, farmers can maximize their returns and improve market access.
Transforming Lives: The Story of Lucy Wanjiku
Among the beneficiaries of the Farmers Together project is Lucy Wanjiku, who tragically lost her home and three children during Kenya’s post-election violence in 2008. After relocating to Njabini, she became one of the initial women trained and equipped for the farm project. With the support of Farmers Together and her hard work, Lucy has rebuilt her life and now thrives as a successful farmer.
Local Entrepreneur Tom Mwangi Drives the Project
Integral to the success of Farmers Together is Tom Mwangi, a local entrepreneur deeply connected to the community. With his extensive knowledge of the local agricultural economy, Mwangi played a pivotal role in selecting participating farmers and overseeing the project’s operations. Today, he serves as the organization’s director, driving its mission to uplift farmers and promote sustainable farming practices.