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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Farmers in Sipili sensitized on post harvest maize management

By Bob Aston

Ninety three (93) farmers from Sipili area of Ol-Moran ward, Laikipia West were on March 10, 2015 sensitized on a maize concept note titled “Formation, Legalization and Training Maize Value Chain Groups on Post-harvest Management.” The event which took place at Sipili Catholic Church Hall was organized by the Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP).
In attendance included; Ol-Moran Ward administrator, ASDSP, SNV- Netherlands Development Organization, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), Ol-Moran Ward Agriculture Officer, Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society and Sipili Cereal Bank.
Leah addressing the farmers
Speaking during the meeting, Leah Njeri, SNV Senior Governance Advisor, Procurement Governance in HGSF noted that post-harvest maize management has been a major challenge in Laikipia County as farmers lose up to 30 percent of maize harvest due to pests, diseases and rotting. 
She said this usually leads to lower incomes among smallholder farmers and for many households such losses threaten food nutrition and income security. She said that the various stakeholders involved in the project are keen to ensure that post harvest losses are not only reduced but that farmers start to benefit from farming.
On her part, Peris Mutua, Value Chain Development officer with ASDSP noted that the maize value chain lacks adequate and effective co-ordination due to lack of organizations to champion the collective interests of the value chain players leading to ineffective post-harvest management strategies.
Charles Keru,Ol-Moran ward administrator addressing the farmers
She said that the maize concept note project seeks to improve Maize value chain organization and co-ordination and reduce post-harvest losses of maize in Laikipia County. She said that ASDSP is currently implementing three value chains in Laikipia County.
“The essence of the project is to train farmers in order to reduce post-harvest maize losses. Most farmers in Laikipia West usually grow maize but they always experience high post-harvest losses,” said Peris.
Mr. Joseph Mwati, Chairman Maize Value Chain Core Group (VCCG) in Laikipia County informed the farmers that they will be trained in post harvest maize management in value chain groups of 20 or more members. He said that the value chain groups will also be capacity built by among others; ASDSP, SNV, ALIN, Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
The farmers agreed to have six (6) maize value chain groups in Sipili cluster. The value chain groups will be Kaharati Upper, Kaharati Lower, Dimcom A, Dimcom B, Kiriko and Kabati. Twelve sensitization meetings are currently being carried out in the six wards in Laikipia West with each ward hosting two meetings.
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