Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips

Thursday, 21 August 2014

West Laikipia small farmers trained on value addition

By Bob Aston
The Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) on August 19, 2014 organized West Laikipia small farmers training about avocado and mango value addition. The training which was conducted at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre saw more than 20 mango and avocado farmers being trained on value addition by a consultant sent by LWF.
Speaking during the training, Virginia Wahome, LWF North Western Unit Community Liason Officer said that LWF decided to bring farmers together to train them on alternative livelihood. She said that dependence on only maize and beans is not ideal. She said that they are trying to bridge gaps by encouraging farmers to try alternative crops that can help to improve their livelihood.
She informed the farmers that communities living near Lariak Forest together with LWF have started a fruit nursery which has already been certified by Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA). She noted that farmers will no longer be travelling long distances to buy mango seedlings. She said farmers will now be able to obtain the seedlings at Ksh 100.
Gatobu addressing the farmers
“Laikipia Wildlife Forum decided to train farmers on mango and avocado value addition in order to financially empower them. We are determined in ensuring that farmers have an alternative livelihood,” said Virginia.
Mr. Ken Gatobu, Director, Sucode Consultancy Agency touched on some challenges that farmer’s face when they want to add value to their produce. He informed the farmers that cost of value addition is normally high, large scale production is required due to economies of scale, it is hard for an individual to get certification, relevant documentation, skills, training and exposure.
“Value addition is a long term investment as it is a long process. The main purpose of value addition is to increase money in our pocket,” said Mr. Gatobu.
He stressed on the importance of joining farmer groups as they will be able to enjoy various benefits of value addition that include;  Standards, capital, reduced cost of production, access to market and more profit.
“As a group you can research on market of product, quality and cost. Working as a group can also help you create a market niche,” said Mr. Gatobu.
He informed participants that they should always harvest when crops are mature. He cited research which shows that 20% - 40% of farm produce is normally lost during this period. He advised farmers to pluck fruits and put in a basket during harvesting instead of throwing on the ground as this usually leads to breakages and bursting.
Once fruits are harvested they should be stored in a cool place. He stressed on the importance of packaging stating that presentable packaging adds value. He also informed farmers that value addition usually starts during sorting which marks the first step of grading.
He informed farmers that value addition can be added to avocado through extraction of oil, making fruit salad and fruit juice while in mango, value addition can be added through making dried mango crisps, juice, fruit salad and jam.
“Farmers can benefit when they dispose of their produce early enough or wait until they add value to their produce,” said Mr. Gatobu.
He informed the farmers that value addition requires consistency thus it is important to set a target that can be met.
Post a Comment