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Workshop on Integration of poor and vulnerable farmers into value Chains for sweet potatoes and other emerging crops in Mbeere and Kirinyaga,February 2012

Workshop on Integration of poor and vulnerable farmers into value Chains for sweet potatoes and other emerging crops in Mbeere and Kirinyaga 
Venue: County Hotel, Sagana and Gachoka CDF Complex, Kiritiri
Date: 14-15 February, 2012

The general agreement is that integrating rural poor farmers into markets is crucial in enhancing food security and accelerating pro-poor economic growth. It is also widely recognised that these farmers need to be organized and their capacity built to enable them penetrate larger and more lucrative markets beyond the production zones.

It is against this backdrop that Tegemeo Institute of Egerton University undertook an economic and value chain analysis of selected ‘orphan’ crops grown by smallholder farmers, including the poor in the drier parts of Kirinyaga West District and Mbeere South District. These studies are within the broader project “Making Agri-food Systems Work for the Rural Poor” which is being carried out in collaboration with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and other regional partners.

Our findings are that production of these crops is profitable and that farmers would greatly increase their income by producing in the off-season, adopting standardized weights and by selling their produce in markets beyond their locality. Farmers have however been unsuccessful in enforcing standardized packaging/weights and grades. They have also not tapped into lucrative markets beyond the production area partly because they are not organized and do not have information beyond that which is available from local traders/brokers.

Tegemeo Institute organized workshops that were aimed at bringing together various stakeholders from the private sector, public sector, NGO’s, civil society groups and the local farming community to amongst others; discuss how the community can organize and build capacity that will enable them to penetrate lucrative markets. Background papers were presented by Tegemeo Institute, the Ministry of Agriculture and the civil society. The output from the Workshops was an action plan and commitment of resources required: to get farmers organized, to impart knowledge and skills and to link them to lucrative markets.

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