Instead of waiting so long for planned agricultural events like field open days, annual Agricultural Society (ASK) shows and agricultural trade fairs, some groups of farmers now resorting to making tours to other farmers and agricultural firms and institutions for learning, exposure and experiencing different ways of farming.
This quest for more practical engagements among farmers through seeing, hearing and touching has prompted farmers from Bokeira Ward in Nyamira County through the umbrella of Kilimo Bora Public Private Partnership farmers’ group send their representatives to benchmark at Kaproron Centre of Excellence in Bomet County meeting Real Farmers Group.
“Benchmarking allows us room to visit our colleagues at our own time and learn what they are doing differently and excelling in that we can apply in our areas too,” Said Milton Patrice, who lead delegates from Bokeira Ward to Kaproron Centre.
“We are also set to see what other farmers in Sagana, Nakuru, Kericho, Eldoret, Kirinyaga, Nairobi and Baringo among other regions if time allow,” he added.
At kaproron centre, Bokeira farmers met their colleagues including Simunya Women Group which do tomato farming using drip kit irrigation. Lead by Mr. Mutai Kiprono, the farmers shared agronomy basics pertaining their agribusiness practices.
“Partnerships and sharing are the order of the day. Success of Kaproron Centre of Excellence has been about sharing not only with our farmers but also those from far,” said Mutai.
In 2008 the creation of KenyaGAP and its benchmarking to GLOBALGAP had several positive impacts on the Kenyan horticultural sector. These include the establishment of the first local certification body in East Africa, AfriCert Limited, has not only created new jobs, but importantly helped secure greater access to KenyaGAP and other international standards in the East African region by lowering the cost of access to certification, and consequently to standards according to Trade Standards Practitioners Network.
Again in April 2016 Tanzania dairy farmers came benchmarking in Kenya given the good policies and prowess in processing and dairy sector management in Kenya according to Ipsos Synovate.
According to International Farm Management Congress 2003, until benchmarking is made easier and the benefits are more clearly demonstrated like by innovations such as presenting data by categories which represent the major constraint faced by each farmers, it is unlikely many more farmers will use the technique.
In particular, methodologies need to be standardised, farm samples need to be more robust and representative, fewer but better surveys should be supported, and more process based information needs to be presented in the final report.