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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Laikipia Maize Value Chain groups plan on sustainability

By Bob Aston
 The Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP)-Laikipia, held aworkshop for 33 maize value chain groups drawn from Laikipia West Sub County on December 8, 2015 at Olympia Hotel in Nyahururu.
The main aim of the workshop was to discuss the sustainability of the groups and particularly Laikipia Maize Value Chain Development Network. Established in 2015, the Umbrella organization is a network of 43 maize Value Chain Groups drawn from Ol-Moran, Igwamiti, Githiga, Salama, Marmanet and Rumuruti wards.
Laikipia maize value chain development network members following the workshop
Representatives from Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC), Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), and Jabali Millers also attended the workshop.
Mrs. Jane Kirimi, ASDSP noted that the Umbrella body and the value chain groups must come up with ways of sustaining themselves as the first ASDSP phase would end in December 2016.
She said that strengthening the various structures and organizations established in 2014 and 2015 would play a critical role in ensuring the sustainability of the various institutions.
“ASDSP and other stakeholders will continue to facilitate market linkages between the umbrella organization and other structured market to ensure smallholder farmers benefit through such initiatives,” said Mrs. Kirimi.
She urged the groups to adopt sustainability strategies like bulking of maize for common marketing, construction of group stores, resource mobilization through table banking, enhancing linkages with financial institutions to promote commercialization, and embracing cost sharing among others.
Similarly, Mr. Waweru Kanja, Chairman, Laikipia Maize Value Chain Development Network noted that the umbrella maize organization will continue to play a big role in improving organization and co-ordination of the maize value chain in Laikipia County as well as championing the collective interests of the value chain players.
He said that benefits of farmer groups joining the umbrella organization include marketing of maize on behalf of the maize value chain groups, capacity building for farmers and their value chain leaders, bulking and aggregation of maize for market and bulk purchase of agro-inputs.
Others include coordination of maize farmers for better penetration of markets and bargaining power, lobbying for more funds from County, National government as well as other institutions, bargaining and advocacy on behalf of the value chain groups and support to farmers for improved production.
“We are laying a lot of emphasis in ensuring farmers are able to access school market in the government led home grown school feeding programme,” said Mr. Kanja.
The broad objective of the Maize Value Chain in Laikipia County is to enhance viable and equitable commercialization of the maize value chain.

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