Farm Concern International (FCI) and World Vision Kenya in partnership with International Centre for Agro Forestry (ICRAF) and the County Government of Machakos organized a Market Trade Fair in May 2014 that created sustainable market and business linkages to 540 smallholder farmers. The main purpose of the fair was to create sustainable business and market linkages amongst smallholder farmers, input service providers, financial service providers, traders and institutions.
Farmers being trained on value addition at the FCI desk during the market trade fair
The Market Trade Fair’s theme “Enhanced productivity and sustainable market linkages for fruit farmers” was in line with the Machakos County strategic priorities to boost agricultural productivity, support investment and trade. The trade fair brought together participants drawn from Machakos County and beyond including over 540 smallholder famers from five commercial villages in Machakos County, development partners, (USAID and World Vision), government representatives (Ministry of Agriculture), and over 21 exhibitors displaying input supplies and farm implements.
The trade fair also provided a number of opportunities to build and enhance collective marketing for smallholder farmers by developing linkages through business and networking platforms with agro-input dealers, financial institutions, development partners and governmental institutions. These included: i. Access to input supplies from exhibiting input supply companies such as Pannar Seeds, Osho Chemicals, Dryland seeds, Green life protection among others. ii. Financial services for farmers and farmer groups offered by financial institutions such as Chase Bank and Equity bank which included loans for both individual farmers and farmer groups. iii. Investment and savings facilities offered to farmers by Traders Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies present in the trade fair such as Universal Traders Sacco which has products that target the smallholder farmer. iv. Insurance services for smallholder farmers and their farming enterprises to help them counter hardships such as drought and rain failure. Insurance services were offered by CIC insurance and Britam Insurance Companies.
Exhibitors also included ready fruit buyers for fruits such as mangoes, avocadoes, passion fruit etc. One of these buyers is Alfanco Limited which buys fruit for export markets. Sweet and Dried limited was another buyer and fruit processor, who expressed their interest in buying fruits from the farmers. The interactive platform offered practical solutions for promoting smallholder farmers from subsistence to market-led production. Intensive learning took place during the market trade fair and participants benefited from the stakeholders contacts, knowledge exchange and experience sharing.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond