A publication by the Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension in 2013, on how the dynamics of learning are linked to Innovation Support Services; with insights from a Smallholder Commercialization Project implemented by Farm Concern International, FCI in Kenya..
A publication by Farm Africa in 2009, on Maendeleo Agricultural Technology Fund (MATF) programme implemented by Farm Concern International Onion farmers in the area of Endarasha, in Nyeri, have formed 'commercial villages' which means they have shifted part of their farming system from being subsistence to the commercial production of onions for the market. Traditional practices of resource management are replaced by market oriented practices with the aim of achieving higher yields, higher incomes and improved food security. With the improved earnings, farmers have been able to raise their own standards of living with some putting up better houses, purchasing land and paying school fees.
Promotion of Traditional African Vegetables in Kenya and Tanzania: A Case Study of an Intervention Representing Emerging Imperatives in Global Nutrition, May 2010. A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University This research was done in the context of an agricultural program promoting production, marketing, and consumption of traditional African vegetables (TAVs) in central Kenya (Kiambu district) and northern Tanzania (Arusha region). The study aims were (1) to evaluate the effect of the program on diet and nutrition of participating smallholder farmer households, and (2) to examine broader questions of how traditional knowledge and crop diversity are related to smallholder farmers’ diet quality.
African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) are important sources of essential macro and micro-nutrients. In addition they offer a source of livelihood when marketed, and also contribute to crop biodiversity. Despite these positive aspects, only a few ALVs are grown, marketed and consumed in Kenya. This study analyses the ALV market in Nairobi and the neighbouring areas, highlighting the factors that enable or inhibit its development. Furthermore, the study determined different factors influencing inter- and intra-specific on-farm biodiversity, with a focus on the role of ALV market development.
In Endarasha, near Nyeri, Kenya, onions are the main cash crop, but with poor access to markets many smallscale farmers like Ngatia Waithaka find themselves at the mercy of middlemen, who offer farmers low prices for their produce. Selling his onions in small quantities to brokers, Waithaka used to earn just Ksh 8,000 (US$100) per season from his half hectare plot. By joining a 'commercial village', he has seen his earnings increase ten-fold.
BUSIA, Kenya, Jan 19 2016 (IPS) - High incidents of poverty coupled with decreasing land acreage amid a changing climate pouring havoc on weather patterns has compelled farmers in the Tangakona area of Busia County in western Kenya to embrace an innovative initiative to improve livelihoods. The farmers cultivate cassava and orange fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP,) both of which are drought resistant, under an initiative that involves value addition to the two tuber crops and is dubbed a “Commercial Village. "
A market and commercialization intervention is steadily gaining ground in Kenya allowing small holder farmers bypass the dubious middlemen to access markets for their produce directly, a breakthrough that has now seen farmers triple seasonal earnings. In Nyeri area in Central Kenya, onions are the main cash crop, but with poor access to markets many smallscale farmers like Ngatia Waithaka find themselves at the mercy of middlemen, who offer farmers low prices for their produce. Selling his onions in small quantities to brokers, Waithaka used to earn a paltry $80 per season from his half hectare plot. By joining a 'commercial village', he has seen his earnings increase ten-fold. "
Pro-poor market development initiatives applied by Farm Concern International, FCI, are aimed at triggering innovative market driven and private sector initiatives aimed at developing a sustainable smallholder commercial production of African Leafy Vegetables, ALVs. The implementation approach was designed to allow FCI an opportunity to enhance the capacity of smallholder farmers to competently outsource business development services, negotiate with value chain players, gather market information from various value chain players and effectively sustain buyer partnerships. ‘Enhanced Market Access for ALVs’ is an innovative programme implemented by FCI, in collaboration with various stakeholders and with support from Rockefeller Foundation, Gatsby-UK, Farm Africa and USAID. FCI market development approach was benchmarked to private sector approach offering a market opportunity for over 2,700 smallholders."
Recognizing the potential of cassava as the ‘poverty and drought fighter’ crop in Africa, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Farm Concern International have launched a 3 year program that will help 30,000 small holder farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania increase cassava for food and industrial use by processing it at village level."
In Thyolo and Zomba districts in Malawi where Farm Concern International (FCI) is implementing the Domestic Horticulture Marketing (DoHoMa) project, farmers used to grow maize predominantly as a one season crop prior to the intervention. However , following intense commercialization campaigns and Village Business Forums conducted by FCI during the roll-out phase of the project and continuously , this farming orientation is drastically changing.
It is one thing to be going about your business doing what you know to do best with a passion and quite another thing to be instantly thrust into the limelight,literally sharing the stage with the President of the Republic of Kenya!
For Jinja grain trader Mr Daniel Mpugi, business is a matter of luck from one season to another. There is always uncertainty about the quality of grain he is purchasing because when the consignments are not up to standard it translates into financial loss and sheer wastage.
It was a chilly morning in August 2011 when Samuel Kingori went to inspect his onion nursery bed that had only been completed the previous day. He was soon hard at work, broadcasting the hybrid onion seeds wearing a big smile on his face and every action exuding confidence in the outcomes to be expected in the days ahead. A lot has changed in terms of onion nursery management since FCI’s DoHoMa intervention in his Embaringo village.
There were two good reasons to celebrate the day Heather Grady came calling in Mbuvo. First the Community in Mbuvo takes great pride in hosting guests from near and far, and Heather, the Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation had travelled thousands of kilometers from New York City to keep her appointment with the members of the Mbuvo Commercial Village Cassava Processing Project (CVPP).
The first three weeks of August 2011 marked a history of sorts for Irish potato wholesalers and farmers in Kigali, with the former venturing out to make direct purchases from the latter. That single decision had several immediate and beneficial impacts for both traders and farmers: First to go was the 2000 FRw (US$ 3.3) ‘tax’ levied by the brokers on each delivery vehicle coming into the collection centre also known as Igitikinyoni. According to the President of Kimirinko Wholesalers Association, 45-year old Mr Ntizinduka J. Baptist, in the past neither traders nor farmers were exempt from paying the charges.
Lately, Mrs Nyirakanyange Josephine isn’t complaining. The mother of five and member of Twiyubake Commercial Producer Group within Karambi Commercial Village is using the training from Farm Concern International to grade her Irish potato harvest and win a good market. So far she has sold 10 sacks of mixed potatoes, weighing in at 1,450 kg at FRw 90 per Kg making resulting in a total of FRw 130,500 (US $ 217.5). She also sold ten sacks of big potatoes weighing in at 1,400 kgs worth FRw 147,000 (US$ 245).
Samson Kamputa 32, also popularly known as Jam 2 among other traders is a prominent Irish potato businessman trading at Blantyre market. He has been in business for the last nine years. Every now and again and when he is sure that the profits are worthwhile, he diversifies his portfolio to supply garlic to Indian clients. For Samson, the bottom line must make sense.
Not too long ago, Mrs Wangari Wakalenju, was unable to participate effectively in the affairs of her Commercial Village where she is also a member of the Social Welfare Committee. She is a member of Githathimwa Commercial Village, Kamukombiini location, located in Kiambu County nearly 65 kilometres west of Nairobi, Kenya.
Up until the 1980s and 90s, the traditional grain storage basket known locally as Mururu was a permanent fixture in the households of subsistence farmers throughout Tharaka district and the Larger Meru County. Farmers harvested a variety of locally grown cereals, which they dried thoroughly before storing the bulk of it in the Mururu (pictured). Seeds were similarly stored in smaller airtight earthenware pots and sealed in at the mouth with cow dung and mud.
FCI VISION : Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond