Marketing of Ecological Agricultural Production

Strengthening of marketing channels for farmers producing ecologically

Maize is a staple crop in Central Africa but yields are at serious risk from pests and the effects of climate change. The sustainable Push-Pull method helps solve these problems by increasing yields and improving food security. To ensure that these higher yields actually translate into higher incomes, it is crucial to add value at the local level. For that reason, the project will increasingly focus - in addition to the spread of Push Pull throughout Central Kenya - on establishing supply chains and promoting income-generating activities.

During the training at the field schools for farmers, it emerged that the development of cooperatives and similar groupings would allow small farmers to combine their resources and so encourage more farmers to participate. As the farmers would manage and administer such organisations themselves, training in these functions will be provided. In cooperation with the governments of the relevant districts, the demands of local markets have been analysed and priority supply chains identified. Farmers will access information on ways to add value, (e.g. technologies to increase yields from crops such as avocados and bananas, etc.) through so-called "Hubs". These trading centres will be established as part of the project. The farmer cooperatives will be trained in the technologies enabling them to improve their productivity.

Development goal

Improve the food security and incomes of small-scale farmers in Central Kenya.

Members of the farmer cooperative in Kawigi on the day of its formation

Relevance

The population density in Central Kenya is high and yet each farming family only has about 0.9 to 2 ha available for cultivation. The Push-Pull method allows farming families to achieve significant increases in yields and to date, the project has been able to guarantee the food security of 87% of the direct participants. The next step in efforts to increase incomes and combat poverty amongst the small farmers in Central Kenya is to establish effective local supply chains.

Beneficiaries

A total of 3,420 people have benefited directly from the project, 2,339 of whom are women. The project gives small-scale farmers access to improved technology. It also provides them with the required knowledge on methods of farming and cultivation as well as product processing in order to add value. A further 27,360 people have benefited indirectly; this includes the families of members of the cooperatives, local dealers, suppliers and financial institutions. In particular, suppliers have benefited from the business relationships established with the cooperatives. They save on transport costs as goods can be concentrated in the Hubs.

Objectives 2016

  • Improve access by small-scale farmers to the latest scientific knowledge and technology by providing training to farmer cooperatives 
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of farmer cooperatives in the project region of Central Kenya 
  • Support farmers in Central Kenya in order to ensure that they have access to markets for agricultural products 

Achievements

The five cooperatives established to date have seen an increase in membership of 1,182 from the five districts. A total of 34 trainers have been trained in the production of high-yielding, resistant TC bananas; they are now passing on this knowledge together with 2,343 young banana plants. A further 152 farmers have sold 15 tonnes of bananas through the cooperatives. The Management Committees of cooperatives have also been trained in their management and administration.