Commercial Villages (CVs) formed by Farm Concern International (FCI) in Mwala and Kalawa under the Semi- Arid Region Commercialization Programme implemented by World Vision Kenya and Farm Concern International with support from World Vision Australia have positively impacted stakeholders in the agri-business sector. The CVs have brought on board government institutions, research institutitions, development partners, input dealers, formal and informal markets, private sector, district assembly and local leaders.
This has enabled the small holder farmers increase production, access markets, sell the products at reasonable price and make savings for investments. The partnerships have brought about the expansion of the Programme through viable domestic market opportunities for smallholders within regional and domestic marketing systems. These have also enabled mobilization of farming households within villages, facilitate establishment of Commercial Villages, and facilitate village leadership set up and selection of CV Assistants.
The partnerships have also enabled monitoring, learning, evaluating and sharing on wholesome progress regularly and periodically at village level, business partnerships level and sub-sector environment.
The total sales facilitated through the intervention amounted to USD 101,730 with 1,199 farmers being beneficiaries. In July, 2014, a total of USD 14,272.27 was achieved from the sale of tomatoes, green grams, pigeon peas, cowpeas and watermelons representing 61% achievement of total agricultural production.
According to research done by Farm-Africa, 2010, entitled “The Power of Farmers Organizations in Smallholder Agriculture in East Africa,” there are numerous benefits of collective action in agricultural production.
A case study done on High ridge Banana Growers and Markets Association (HBGMA), a smallholder farmer's organization based in Kenya, indicates that farmers who were members of the organization were able to access value addition technologies such as ripening chambers, processing into crisps and flour, and chapatti making.
The members also enjoyed technical advice on crop husbandry for production of high quality bananas, collective marketing thus fetching higher prices and getting a platform for engaging in negotiation and discussions with government agencies, research institutions and other associations within and beyond their Villages
The importance of CVs to farmers has therefore remained significant to FCI because it is one of the strategies that would realize increased incomes for improved, stabilized and sustainable livelihoods in Africa among smallholder communities.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond