Farmers have doubled their maize yield through the USAID-sponsored Kilima Tumaini (Mount Hope) youth group in western Kenya. They have also obtained a ready market for their grain in the World Food Program (WFP) and the Kenya National Cereals and Produce Board.
Stanley Kimeli’s Success Story
One such farmer, Stanley Kimeli has seen his harvest double from 11 bags of maize per acre to an average of 20 to 25 bags per acre since joining the group.
The 35-year-old father of three is one of the 30 members of the Mount Hope youth group who now grow their maize on a combined 400 acres and sell in bulk to WFP and the Kenya National Cereals and Produce Board, getting a better price than if they sold their harvests individually.
USAID’s Support for Food Security
With USAID support, the WFP purchases this maize to feed vulnerable communities in drought-prone regions of Kenya.
WFP has bought over 7,000 metric tons of cereals from farmers like Kimeli to help food-insecure Kenyans with emergency assistance. Through this program, WFP is improving Kenya’s food security situation by connecting smallholder farmers who often struggle to struggle to obtain a satisfactory market for their crops.
Training and Capacity Building
Aside from enhancing their agricultural productivity, USAID, in collaboration with WFP, is also working with these smallholder farmers to reduce post-harvest losses and enhance marketing capabilities by offering market mapping and targeting training.
Despite only having a primary school education, Stanley notes; “I’m not educated. But I have learned hands-on skills that have given me a better life.”
WFP is currently engaged in training approximately 10,700 farmers across western Kenya, representing 79 different organizations. The training focuses on improving production techniques and establishing connections to relevant markets.
Empowering Farmers for a Brighter Future
Kimeli shares, “After inheriting a small portion of my father’s land, I grew maize and beans for subsistence as I had yet to learn how to farm profitably before joining the group in 2007. However, thanks to the profits I have gotten from being a part of this program, I recently expanded my agricultural operations by purchasing a two-acre plot and leasing an additional five acres.
This has significantly boosted his production capacity enabling him to invest in a farm tractor and a chainsaw, hire laborers and also lease these tools to fellow farmers, generating extra income.
“I can now comfortably pay for my children’s education and asked my wife to advance her education as I can now support my wife through college,” Kimeli said. “I did not get that chance, and I want my children to have a role model.”