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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

KAPAP transforms farming in Nyandarua

By Dennis Kipkirui
Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPAP) is a Kenya Government initiative funded by the World Bank. The Project Development Initiative (PDO) is to increase agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers from agricultural and agribusiness activities in the project area. The project activities will contribute to these objectives by transforming and improving the performance of agricultural technology systems, empowering men and women stakeholders and promoting the development of agribusiness in the project area.

Farmer in her snow-peas farm in Gathanji
The project is implemented through line ministries such as Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock Development, Fisheries Development and Co-operatives Development and Marketing. Kenya Agricultural Research Institute is also an implementing agency.

Farmers will access services through producer groups which are vehicles for farmer empowerment. Therefore, services will be offered through specific value chains in project areas.

In Nyandarua Region, KAPAP has twenty four project locations in the county. These locations are divided into four zones namely: Nyandarua (North, West, Central and south), Mirangine, Kipipiri, and Kinangop. Nyandarua has an area of 3245.2 KM square with a population of 596,268 people. 60% of its land is arable making it ideal for agricultural production. Economically, the area has a growth rate of 2.4%.

According to Nyandarua Region Co-ordinator Mrs. Agatha Thuo, KAPAP has four value chains in the area. These are Dairy Production, Horticulture (snow peas and potato), Apiculture (bee keeping) and Meats (indigenous poultry). 

Because the project is labour intensive to implement and the region has only three officers (Co-ordinator, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and Accountant), it has engaged consortia (service providers) for each specific value chain. Agroconsult deals with Poultry value chain together with peas while Aberdare Services deals with Apiculture (bee keeping). On the other hand, Jetspan Limited deals with Dairy production and Alfa Kilimo deals with potatoes.

The service providers are expected to address challenges that exist in a value chain. These challenges are identified by farmers and also researched by KAPAP. Interestingly, a service provider signs a contract with farmers with a specific wealth target which should enable farmers realize in a specific period. The service provided will only be given full payment if it meets the target.  

To monitor progress, KAPAP uses Management Information System (MIS) software to track the amount of wealth created. For example in the year 2011/2012, wealth created from peas was four million shillings and potato raised the same amount also. Dairy raised 1.8 million while beekeeping mounted sixteen million.

Farmers have been organized such that each location has leadership which will ultimately form County Value Chain Executive. The executive signs contract with service providers and KAPAP acts as a witness. KAPAP also conducts frequent monitoring and evaluation to ascertain progress on behalf of the farmers.
KAPAP activities in Nyadarua cover only 50% of the county. However, the county has a great agricultural potential. Research indicates that it can produce 40 tons of produce per week. Value chains are spread in the county based on its potential and grouping of farmers to undertake a given value chain.

Ngano area in Gathanji Division has successfully undertaken Dairy Production. The consortium has managed to help farmers produce quantities of milk and keep quality dairy animals. The projected wealth created in this sector is Ksh.128, 100 per cow per year. Dairy animals kept are mainly Friesian and Arshyire types.

Farmer in Geta area processing honey
Horticulture is mainly practiced in the lower region of Nyandarua. This is where snow peas and potatoes do well. Mirangine is one of the areas that has managed to produce snow peas for foreign markets. It mainly supplies to Finlays and Everest companies. Potatoes are also cultivated here. KAPAP through the service provider (Alpha-Kilimo) has involved Potato Research Centre to ensure that farmers produce large amount of quality potatoes in the area and improve their livelihoods.

Poultry value chain is practiced nearly in the entire county. Ngano which practice dairy has given poultry specific emphasis. They keep indigenous birds called sasso which are improved through Kenbrow from KARI. An improved chicken weighs up to 8 kg.

Apiculture is mainly found in Kipipiri areas. Geta Division has successfully ran the project. It keeps bees and harvest honey. They also process and pack their own products. Geta Honey is a well known brand that emanates from the area. Families have managed to put food on their tables and send their children to school courtesy of bee keeping. KAPAP recognizes that it was imperative for them to introduce this value chain in line with Natural Resource Management (NRM) policy. This will enable communities surrounding forests to conserve them while realizing the benefits.

Generally, KAPAP has successfully run these value chains in Nyandarua region. This is attributed to grouping of farmers with common interest and finding the right service provider to implement a given value chain.  The service provider is also expected to find market for the produce to limit chances of exploitation and intervene whenever farmers face challenges in the stage of production. KAPAP appreciates that a farmer will always produce as long as there is market.

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