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Thursday, 10 April 2014

SNV and ALIN hold joint meeting to discuss farmer organization

By Bob Aston
Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) held a joint meeting on April 9, 2014 in Sipili to discuss farmer’s organization in Laikipia and how to work towards building their capacity.
Speaking during the meeting Noah Lusaka, project Manager-ALIN gave a brief background of ALIN. He said that they operate in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
David from SNV addressing stakeholders
Noah also informed the stakeholders about Baobab magazine which focuses on sustainable agriculture and Joto Africa which focuses on climate change. He informed farmers of the three pillars of the organization; Enabling access, creating knowledge and empowering people.
“Through community empowerment, ALIN seeks to ensure communities take practical initiatives which will enable them improve their livelihoods. We want to build capacity of communities to enable them utilize resources that are available,” said Noah.
Leah Njeri, a governance advisor on PG-HGSF with SNV informed the stakeholders that their organization mainly focuses on opportunities in agriculture (dairy, livestock and horticulture), water, sanitation and hygiene and renewable energy sectors.
“SNV is a facilitator of processes. We connect farmers to the market as well as building their capacity,” said Leah.
Leah said that they provide advisory services, promote the development and brokering of knowledge and support policy dialogue at national level.
“To increase the effectiveness of our programmes and our resources, we engage in partnerships with other development agencies, as well as private and public sector organizations,” said Leah.
Noah from ALIN taking participants through LPMC weaknesses
David Makongo, a Business Development Advisor with SNV said that they are interested in ensuring that farmers benefit from Home Grown School Feeding program. David said that they aim to ensure that 10,000 new farmers are added to the program.
David also introduced stakeholders to Grain Business Hub (GBH) which functions as a collective of supportive businesses and services that help the production activities of member farmers. GBH enables a farmer to store grains to a standard required by most structured markets.
Gachara Gikungu of Kilimo Biashara said that they are commercializing agriculture for sustainable farming.
“We are working with many farmers to realize that agriculture is a profession. We are involved in dairy, horticulture and value chain addition,” said Gachara.
Calvince Onyuka, from East Africa Grain Council (EAGC) said that they prepare, disseminate and promote the exchange of information on matters affecting the regional grain industry. EAGC also promotes investment in structured marketing systems including warehouse receipts and commodity exchanges.
Calvince said that they are currently scouting for warehouses to certify. He said that they are in the process of certifying Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society (LPMC). He said they are working with Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network (RATIN) to collect market data.
Joseph Chege addressing participants
“We have done trainings in Ng’arua and Sipili Division. We have also organized three forums for farmer organization and now we are preparing for the annual agri business trade fair which we will hold in Kabarak,” said Calvince.

Joseph Chege, a co-operative officer from the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development said that they have been partnering with ALIN to improve the welfare of farmers in Laikipia West.

Chege said that in the ministry they mainly deal with; Co-operative governance, education and training, marketing, financing policy, policy formulation and implementation and promotion of co-operative ventures.

Chege said that formation of co-operatives is important as they are able to source for inputs and bulk their produce.

“Marketing has been a major issue in the agricultural value chain. This issue can be addressed through co-operatives as farmers are able to organize themselves,” said Chege.
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