Some 1376 farmers in Siaya have increased their income 29 times from Sh2.02m to Sh58.95m after adopting use of certified seeds from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.
As a result of farmers’ involvement and proper planning, groundnut productivity has increased from 42.1 tonnes in 2010 to 330 tonnes in 2017. There has also been an improvement from about a quarter to one acre of cultivation of the crop per farmer and improvement of yields per acre from 150kg to 450kgs.
Initially, farmers in the region produced three– 90kg bags per acre of shelled groundnuts compared to six- 90kg bags per acre, its potential, according to a baseline survey by the Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project (KAPAP). The low production was attributed to use of recycled seeds from harvested grains instead of certified high yielding, disease tolerant seed varieties.
From 2010 to 2015, KAPAP through its county service unit for Siaya created awareness and mobilized farmers from 20 locations out of the 54 in the county. The farmers identified groundnuts as a priority which required urgent intervention; this led to formation of common interest groups in the locations who developed business plans for implementation by the farmers.
A farmer selling peanut butter at a past agricultural show in the past/PHOTO/FILE
The farmers through their groups were trained on improved planting materials. To increase the volume of seeds, exemplary farmers were identified to engage in bulking seed which they then sold to their peers.
At the outset, farmers in the region did little to transform their produce after harvesting of their crops. They sold it raw and the area under production per farmer was small ranging between a quarter to two acres which was not ideal for agribusiness.
The famers produce peanut products for sale including queens’ peanut butter, roasted nut bites and raw peanut flour for sale after donation of a peanut processing equipment by the Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project (KAPAP).
Using the peanut processing machine, the farmers process their produce and are currently selling more than 50 pieces of 400g packs to various hotels within Kisumu through Siaya nut cooperative society at Sh550 each.
Some of the challenges faced by the farmers include inadequate seed supply and lack of viable equipment to facilitate post-harvest operations.