More than sh500m will be spent to lessen famine in the expansive semi-arid area of Ndeiya and Karai in Kiambu County. While launching the project, Agriculture Cabinet secretary Felix Kosgey said the cash will be used to buy certified and drought tolerant seeds, fertilizer, dairy goats and chicken to smallholder farmers.

Farm Concern International (FCI), which is an Africa wide market development agency whose focus is smallholder commercialization, commends the government for its philanthropic move which bolsters and extends its vision to commercialize smallholder communities with increased income for improved, stabilized and sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond. 

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A directive, recently issued by the Government of Kenya to County Commanders and Commissioners to ensure that the 50kg potato packaging as opposed to 110kg bag rule is enforced could directly scale up the smallholder farmer’s income.

The law is in line with the 2005 Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority Act revised in 2013. The 50kg rule is in line with the requirements of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The penalty for those convicted of flouting the law is a fine of Sh. 500, 000 or a jail term not exceeding one year.  

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A new technology, dubbed “AFMA-X” (African Farms & Markets Network) has been launched to facilitate smallholder farmers’ link with traders for the sale and marketing of their produce and agricultural inputs.

The platform is an innovation of Farm Concern International (FCI), an Africa-wide market development agency whose focus is smallholder commercialization. FCI develops modern marketing concepts and builds business relationships through strategic alliances to enhance competiveness in the market place, economic growth, sustainability and profitability of farming enterprises in various countries of Africa. 

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The MasterCard Foundation, which is an independent global organization based in Toronto Canada, has launched a $50 million fund to help smallholder farmers in Africa. 

The Foundation's "Fund for Rural Prosperity", is a challenge fund granted to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa by enabling businesses to begin or expand financial services in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative falls in line with Farm Concern International’s (FCI) vision which is to commercialize smallholder farmers with increased incomes for improved, stabilized and sustainable livelihoods in Africa. 

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By James Kabue

1. In your own words, how would you define Agro-Tourism? And do you think Agro-Tourism is a valid way of combating some of Africa’s problems like food insecurity?

Agro-tourism is a niche form of tourism that involves any agricultural based operation or activity that brings visitors to farms, plantations or ranches. This form of tourism, as opposed to wildlife tourism, involves interactions at the farms where the tourists get to see different farm settings, different crops being grown, and processing at the farm both for crops and livestock. This kind of tourism is mainly targeted at individuals who have an interest in farming and would like to get a feel of an actual farming enterprise and know the intricacies involved in farming. This form of tourism is slowly picking up in Africa as farmers have now realized the benefits of this type of tourism as they can earn an extra source of income from charging visitors gate fees to come and view their farms.

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FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond