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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Farmers to benefit through Home Grown School Feeding Programme

By Bob Aston 

Farmers in Sipili Division in Laikipia County have been urged to practice sustainable farming in order to empower themselves. Speaking during a farming skills training on February 25, 2014 convened by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre and Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society, Gachara Gikungu from Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) said that farmers have the capacity to provide food for the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP).
Gachara said that Home Grown School Feeding Programme is currently being done in 22 counties in Kenya. SNV has taken five (5) counties as pilot project. The counties are Laikipia, Kitui, Narok, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet.
Gachara from SNV addressing farmers
Gachara said that the school feeding programmes is a potential market for local farmers to benefit from as they will be able to supply food to primary schools within their locality.
The Ministry of Education began the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) in 2008. The programme is implemented in semi-arid areas of the country that are vulnerable to food insecurity. This programme operates as a cash transfer programme where schools receive resources from the government for the local purchase of food products.
Gachara said that specific schools will be selected that will be supplied with food through the program.
“We are trying to ensure that free primary school education succeeds by providing food through the school feeding program,” said Gachara.
School Feeding programmes have long proved effective in improving school enrolment, improving and stabilizing school attendance as well as increasing progression and completion rates in primary schools.
Gachara said that SNV wants farmers to benefit as it will help them end poverty. He said that they are also training farmers to aggregate their maize produce.
Gachara with co-operative officials
“The Co-operative will be able to supply food to schools through Home Grown School Feeding Program. Farmers near schools are the ones to benefit. We will link you with different schools so that you can feed them,” said Gachara.
He advised farmers to consider factors of production like; land which is a natural resource, labour which is a human resource, capital which is a man made resource and entrepreneurship and management.
“Problem with most farmers is that they do not know what they want or is good for them,” said Gachara.
Gachara also encouraged farmers to always ensure that they seek for advisory services from agricultural officers and also that they follow recommendations that they have been given by the ministry in order to succeed.
SNV focuses on agriculture to foster economic development through a well-developed pro-poor value chain development approach. Their focus is on enhanced positioning of smallholder farmers within value chains, promotion of climate friendly agriculture and facilitating increased access to food.
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