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Monday, 20 July 2015

Maize Value chain institution strengthened in Laikipia County

By Bob Aston
The Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) held a Maize Value Chain Platform meeting on July 15, 2015 at Olympia Hotel in Nyahururu, Laikipia West Sub County. The platform meeting provided maize producers, processors, financiers, input suppliers and extension service providers in Laikipia County with an opportunity to not only strengthen the platform but also to reconstitute the Maize Value Chain Core Group (VCCG).
In attendance included; Laikipia County Director of Agriculture, Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP), Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Equity Bank, SNV-Netherlands Development Organization, National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), cooperative department and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN).
Some of the participants posing for a photo
Others included: Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), Kenya Farmers Association (KFA), Meteorological Department, Laikipia County Natural Resource Network (LAICONAR), Laikipia Maize Value Chain Development Network, ACT, Ng’arua Millers, and producer representatives.

Speaking while opening the meeting, Mrs. Elizabeth Mwangi, Laikipia County Director of Agriculture (CDA) said that farmers need to diversify and also embrace appropriate technology in order to produce more food.
She said that the County Government is currently partnering with various organizations in the agriculture sector in order to improve food production. She noted that the entrance of Micro Enterprise Support Program Trust (MESPT) in the County will help to increase the production of Macadamia particularly in Laikipia East.
“Farmers are experiencing a lot of challenges due to climate change. The County Government is working towards ensuring that farmers adopt climate Smart Agriculture by embracing Conservation Agriculture. We are going to partner with FAO to upscale conservation agriculture,” said Mrs. Mwangi.
The maize value chain actors were able to learn about the progress made in the implementation of the first maize concept in Laikipia County which dealt with post-harvest management.
One of the participants sharing his ideas
The concept note aimed to ensure that post-harvest losses in the County is reduced from an average of 30 percent and above to below 15 percent by the end of this year.
“We managed to realize more than 97 percent success rate in the implementation of the first maize concept. Our aim is to enhance viable and equitable commercialization of the maize value chain,” said James Kariithi, ASDSP, Laikipia County Coordinator.
Implementation of the second maize concept titled:” Increasing Maize Production, Strengthening Maize Value Chain institutions to do grain business,” is due to start during this financial year.
The objectives of the second phase concept include: To increase adoption of climate smart production technologies by value chain actors, including vulnerable groups; increase equitable access to market; improve adoption of on-farm and community grain storage technologies; and to strengthen capacity of value chain institutions.
During the reconstitution of the VCCG, Francis Kanja, Chairman Laikipia Maize Value Chain Development Network was elected to chair the VCCG while Zachary Ndirangu, Agribusiness officer, Equity Bank Nyahururu was elected the Secretary.
The VCCG is responsible for planning, co-ordination, implementation and monitoring all activities in the maize value chain on behalf of the value chain platform which brings together various actors in the maize value chain in Laikipia County.
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