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How to improve smallscale farmer produce and earnings

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A char­ac­ter­istic fea­ture of Kenya’s small­holder ag­ri­cul­ture is the dom­in­ance of primary pro­duc­tion. This nor­mally in­volves pro­duc­tion of low volume of pro­duce at the in­di­vidual farm level for sub­sist­ence and sub­sequent mar­ket­ing of sur­plus in raw or semi-pro­cessed form.

Lim­ited on-farm and off-farm pro­cessing of ag­ri­cul­tural pro­duce has trans­lated to low prices, fewer job op­por­tun­it­ies and even­tu­ally low in­come for farm­ers. This can be at­trib­uted to the chal­lenge of in­ad­equate ad­op­tion of new tech­no­lo­gies and in­nov­a­tions, ma­na­gerial and tech­nical skills to ef­fect­ively es­tab­lish and man­age vi­able ag­ribusi­nesses.

De­vel­op­ing a dy­namic and com­pet­it­ive ag­ribusi­ness re­quires not only en­hanced tech­nical and ma­na­gerial skills but also greater mar­ket­ing ori­ent­a­tion and net­work­ing; bet­ter mar­ket in­form­a­tion and bet­ter link­ages with ser­vice pro­viders.

Related News: Ag­ri­cul­tural centre trains over 1, 800 farm­ers yearly for free

Related News: Mfarm em­powers small­holder farm­ers with easy mar­ket ac­cess

Ac­cord­ing to a journal pub­lished by the Kenya Ag­ri­cul­tural Pro­ductiv­ity Pro­ject, farm­ers lack ma­na­gerial skills which in­clude en­tre­pren­eur­ship, busi­ness plan­ning, fin­an­cial man­age­ment and in­nov­a­tions. They also need tech­nical skills in hus­bandry man­age­ment, food pro­cessing, qual­ity and stand­ards con­trol, and mar­ket­ing.

What needs to be done?

  • Busi­ness plan de­vel­op­ment – small­holder farm­ers need to de­velop busi­ness plans with the as­sist­ance of ag­ri­cul­tural ex­ten­sion of­ficers to guide their pro­jects to suc­cess­ful im­ple­ment­a­tion. Busi­ness plan­nin­gis key to a be­gin­ner farmer for It helps be­gin­ning farm­ers plan for the eco­nomic sus­tain­ab­il­ity of a new farm en­ter­prise.
  • Train­ing – Many farm­ers in rural areas do not have the most up-to-date in­form­a­tion on how to grow food ef­fi­ciently and eco­nom­ic­ally. Im­prov­ing their know­ledge of new tech­niques and tech­no­lo­gies, in ad­di­tion to provid­ing them with any phys­ical re­sources ne­ces­sary for im­ple­ment­a­tion, can dra­mat­ic­ally in­crease the farm­ers’ level of pro­ductiv­ity. Farm­ers can seek help from ag­ri­cul­tural ex­ten­sion of­ficers within their jur­is­dic­tion to achieve this.
  • Farmer edu­ca­tion pro­grams – edu­cat­ing farm­ers’ leads to in­creased local food avail­ab­il­ity, in­creased farmer in­come and in­creased sus­tain­ab­il­ity of ag­ri­cul­tural prac­tices.
  • Pro­mot­ing form­a­tion of farm­ers’ groups – farm­ers need to form small­holder groups in order to max­im­ize the power of num­bers in input and out­put ac­quis­i­tion and in mar­ket­ing their pro­duce.

Related News: Farm­ers re­sort to bench mark­ing to im­prove on pro­duc­tion

Com­mer­cial­iz­a­tion under the small­holder-dom­in­ated ag­ri­cul­ture can suc­ceed if farm­ers are em­powered to bal­ance sub­sist­ence farm­ing and com­mer­cial ag­ri­cul­ture.

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