PAMA - Enterprise for small scale farmers
During the marketing season FCI took a center stage of creating marketing linkages for the farmers in Mbeere region. Farmers have been connected to export, fresh produce and processing markets. The coordinated marketing has helped farmers to timely offload their produce to the market at the required time. One farmer from Gatitu Commercial Producing Group (CPG) who sold 4.67 tons of Apple and Tommy mangoes to Sunny processors said, “For the first time in history my mangoes have not rotted in my shamba. I’m grateful to Farm Concern International”.
This was after a trader from Britannia Company in Uganda was connected to Muchonoke and Gatitu producer groups in which 11.6 tons of Vandyke mangoes; worth Ksh. 81,200 were sold. Mango commercial Village farmers have been trained on formation of commercial producer groups. The groups are trained on good agricultural practices that lead to better quality produce for the markets.
The farmers are also equipped with business skills, to enable them be competitive in the mango value chain. As such, farmers groups are evolved into formidable business entities that can do business with both the public and private sector. Prior to FCI’s intervention, most farmers in the region used to sell their mangoes to traders at a throw away price.
This was the case for most farmers; however, the same changed following the introduction of PAMA project in the region. Mary Wanjira Kibara, a member of Kamaso Commercial producer group is one of the beneficiaries from PAMA project interventions. Mrs. Kibara who has over 50 mango trees of Kent, Tommy, Vandyke, Sabin, Ngowe and Sensation varieties, said that she planted those orchards 28 years ago and since she begun harvesting, she has never sold her mangoes at Ksh 5 apiece. “I am so happy that today I have sold my mangoes at Ksh. 5 per piece. I had almost given up taking care of those mangoes since all I have been getting are losses by selling at between Ksh. 1.50 to Kshs 3 per piece. Others rot in the farm while others are given out to visitors, children and neighbors,” she said.
This is the story with most farmers who have had market linkage from FCI.
FCI in partnership with Technoserve implemented project Nurture (Passion and Mango Market Access Development- PAMA) which is the project facilitating trade for 59,498 households in Lower Eastern, Rift Valley, Central and Coastal Kenya. This project is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coca Cola Foundation with the aim of facilitating more than 50,000 small- scale mango and passion fruit households (30 % of which are women) to double their income by 2014.
Project Nurture (PAMA) sought to empower the households by offering training programs, facilitating financial services and assisting in organizing them to access inputs and sustainable market channels for their mangoes (Kent, Vandyke, Apple, Tommy and Ngowe) and passion fruits (purple and yellow passion).
The project had significant achievements in developing market linkages for the households; established 160 Commercial Producer groups that have formed 18 CVs; introduced water retention innovation to minimize irrigation losses; developed strategic partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant Business Development Service providers; undertook capacity building in value addition and post harvest management; Nutrition and dietary diversification; Women and youth empowerment.