By George Munene
Over 3,000 small-scale sunflower farmers in Meru County have from the 26th of April started receiving cash payments from the Tujiinue Tena climate change and COVID-19 adaptation project launched in September of last year.
Farmers who cultivated the crop last season will be paid on delivering their produce to weighing centers across the county. As further good news to farmers, Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the civil society organization behind the project indicated that the price paid to farmers, an initial Sh30 per kilogram had been increased to Sh40 on the kilo. He urged them to continue growing sunflowers since the market for their produce is ready.
The project is a partnership between farmers, the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, BIDCO Africa and Kenya Seed Company.
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PACJA handled climate-smart community sensitization and mobilization. Seed-producing firm Kenya Seed Company distributed sunflower seeds and conducted farmer extension services to support farmers. BIDCO Africa for its part committed to purchasing all the produce assuring farmers a ready market under a contractual farming model.
“The 3000 small-scale farmers receiving their payment today is a testimony of what private-public partnership can do in furthering adaptation initiatives,” said Dr Mithika Mwenda.
With the deleterious effects of the Covid-19 lockdown and the impasse between the Kenya and Somalia government which has seen the cessation of the stimulant’s entry into the country the incomes of Meru farmers where khat is the main cash crop have been greatly affected.
“The lockdown has served as a blessing in disguise as farmers now realize that there is an alternative to growing miraa,” Jacob Kirimi, the project coordinator pointed out.
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The project’s early success in Meru County he hoped will be a harbinger for similar projects in Kenya, and around Africa that will offer faster opportunities for disbursement of climate finance to adaptation projects across the globe. This still stands at 25 per cent against the agreed goal of increasing climate adaptation finance to 50 per cent.
Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance: +254208075808