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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Laikipia County Minister supports knowledge sharing project

By Faith Kisiangani
Laikipia County Minister for Agriculture, Irrigation, Fisheries, Livestock Development, Environment and Natural Resources, has supported a knowledge sharing project by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP). Speaking during the inception workshop organized by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) at Beisa Hotel in Nanyuki on June 11, 2014, Hon Duncan Mwariri said that information sharing is a powerful tool that should be fully utilized.
Hon Mwariri addressing participants during a knowledge sharing workshop
Hon Mwariri congratulated ALIN and UNDP grantees for initiating a project that will help to improve the livelihood of communities at house hold level.  He encouraged farmers to have a project that will market and aggregate their produce.
 “Farmers have been exploited for a very long time because of individual interest and businesses and if they come up together and form a group this problem will be addressed,” said Hon Mwariri.

The inception workshop titled Enhancing communities participation for effective natural resources management and enhanced resilience in Laikipia County provided an avenue for UNDP GEF SGP grantees to deliberate on knowledge sharing.
The UNDP GEF SGP grantees present at the workshop included; Kantuka Community Based Organization, Upper Ewaso Narok Water Resource Users Association, Rumuruti Forest Association, Ilmamusi Forest Association, Tuungane Tusaidiane community project, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), Sustainable Agriculture Community Development Programme (SACDEP), Segera Jirani na Mazingira, Yiaku Laikipia Trust and Laikipia Central Community Development (LAICCODO).
Also present included representation from Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) and the Laikipia County Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Fisheries, Livestock Development, Environment and Natural Resources.
Hon Mwariri,officials from his Ministry together with ALIN Deputy Director
Hon Mwariri challenged farmers to be open-minded and not only rely on maize but to also venture into other farming activities. He said that the County government is interested in enhancing commercial villages so as to improve the livelihood of communities at house hold level.
Hon Mwariri said that he was impressed with Farm Record Management Information System (FARMIS) and SOKO+. This he said will help farmers particularly in the area of record keeping.
SOKO+ is a digital commodity trading and information system linking small scale farmers to end retailers. SOKO+ provides commodity prices from major markets around the areas of operation and beyond, e –extension services and a listing of various technical and logistical providers.
“I am happy with record keeping. A farmer cannot practice Kilimo Biashara when he does not keep records. Most of the time farmers are not able to acquire loans because of lack of proper farm records. I hope FARMIS will succeed and that the best farmer in record keeping should be given a trophy as a motivation,” said Hon Mwariri.
 He promised the participants that the County government will host the information notice board that will be used by UNDP funded grantees to disseminate information at the county office.
The specific objectives of the project will include; to facilitate consistent knowledge sharing about Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM), to facilitate better knowledge sharing between UNDP SGP Projects in Laikipia County, to establish a knowledge access space for sharing and demonstration of technologies in Natural Resource Management (NRM) and to learn what the other partners are engaged in.
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