Tegemeo at the ACSS Conference in Uganda, 14-17 October 2013

 Dr. Kirimi ACSS

Dr. Lilian Kirimi, Senior Research Fellow, at the Conference in Entebbe, Uganda

Tegemeo Institute was represented at the 11th African Crop Science Society (ACSS) Conference held on 14-17 October 2013, in Entebbe Uganda. The theme of the conference was: Sowing innovation for sustainable food and nutrition security in Africa. 

Dr. Lilian Kirimi made a presentation on Constraints and opportunities for women in sweet potato value chain in Rachuonyo District, Kenya. The study sought to identify critical challenges that need to be addressed and assess growth opportunities that could be exploited to improve access to and participation by women smallholders in agricultural markets along the sweet potato value chain. The study site was Kabondo Division, Rachuonyo South District, Homa Bay County, the leading sweet potato production area in Kenya.

Findings from the study showed that sweet potato is an important enterprise in the food and incomes of smallholder farmers in the study area, and that targeting the sweet potato value chain would benefit women more since they already dominate all nodes of the chain. In order to improve participation of women in the chain, the following need to be done: address liquidity constraints among producers, and one option would be to strengthen the capacity of collective action institutions to continue offering credit services to the producers; empower producers to have better bargaining power on setting grades and prices, which can be achieved through strengthening of the existing collective action institutions among producers so that they can engage in collective marketing; enforce the law concerning sweet potato standard packaging units as in the Local Government Act (Cap. 265); and, improve bargaining strength of producers and traders in the major urban markets, by eliminating the cartels formed by brokers in such markets.

The Conference is an event that takes place once every two years and brings together participants from across the continent.