By Fredrique Achieng
The One Acre Fund has partnered with Elgeyo Marakwet county government to provide inputs and training to thousands of the county’s farmers, who can now get all the inputs they need to create the season’s crops, and then pay for them in instalments once their harvests are underway.
“One Acre’s aim is to improve the life of farmers. We will give vegetable seeds, pulses, tree seedlings, crop control and post-harvest materials, Knapsack sprayers, drying sheets, and solar lights to each beneficiary,” said Lilian Avugwi, One Acre Fund, Government Relations Officer.
The support is being offered for farmers who have from ¼ acre to around 3 acres and has already been rolled out to 3,109 farmers from Kamariny, Kapchemutwa, Chepkorio, Kabiemit, Kaptarakwa and Metkei sub-counties offering assistance to maize and bean farmers, but it is now expanding to cover other crops too.
For those who want to be included in the next round of support, which starts in April 2021, they must be a member of a farmers’ group of five to 25 members that is registered in the county, and they must register and pay a commitment fee of Sh500 by December 2020, said Lilian.
Once accepted into the project, they are provided training by the One Acre Fund to help maximise their crop yields, and then assisted with the provision of inputs.
“I was in the first group this year, One Acre Fund gave me 75kg of DAP and CAN fertilizer that I have used on my one acre, which if I had needed to buy on my own would have resulted to me getting late for the planting season,” said Mary Chebet.
For a farmer who has ¼ acre piece of land, it costs around Sh8,000 for inputs, such as seeds and agrochemicals, and Sh3,000 to Sh27,000 to buy fertilizer and top dresser. But, unlike direct loans to farmers that can put them into debt, the project works to support each farmer in generating crops to cover the repayment costs.
The One Acre Fund is now also carrying out a trial supporting macadamia and Irish potato production, which it hopes to add to its packages for the next season.