My name is Emmanuel Ngore. I am 29 years old and the current Young Professionals for Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD) Country Representative for Kenya. I am an environmentalist by training and currently pursuing my Masters in Environmental Management. Agriculture is my passion and as such, I am a farmer too, specializing in rice farming. I have a great interest in value addition in the agriculture value chain.
In my project, I intend to build the capacity of and engage 2 youth farmer groups to grow rice with assured market. I will be the assured market by buying their rice husks at US$ 60 per 90kg bag, drying and storing the rice husks, processing and packaging for sale. Middlemen offer US$ 40 for the same bag of rice husks. My project is sustainable as it focuses on the post-harvest storage and selling produce when the market demand is high. Normally, a 90kg bag of rice husks if processed can fetch up to US$ 90 in the market. This of course is my strategy of fetching higher prices for my produce when there is high demand. The rice market pool never dries as is provided by boarding learning institutions in the area.
Ahero, Kenya is known for rice farming, an activity being dominated by the old folk. Young people find it unattractive as it fetches poorly in the market when sold as husks. Processed rice fetches up to twice as much as compared to rice husks. Middlemen are mostly preferred as they provide a sure market to the produce in husks form. As such, middlemen exploit farmers by providing very low returns in exchange for the produce they purchase in large quantities. The youth in Ahero find agriculture unattractive and prefer venturing into motor cycle business natively known as ‘bodaboda’ through which they earn less than US$ 2 a day. As a youth leader in matters of youth in agriculture and as a farmer, I will be able to provide a sustainable solution to young farmers by assuring them better price for their rice husks. Individually, I will be able to benefit by processing the husks, storing and selling to consumers at a higher cost when market demand increases.
The five main steps involved in this project are (1) Organizing and registering youth rice farmers groups in Ahero division, (2) Constructing a storage facility, using iron sheets and wooden poles, for storing rice once harvested, (3) Supporting each youth group to plant rice in already available land and assuring them of market for produce, (4) Purchasing rice produce from the youth group at a price higher than exploiting middlemen’s and (5) Using the youth groups, dry the rice husks, process, package and sell when demand goes up. This will encourage more young people in the society to venture into agriculture being sure of favorable market for their rice produce hence will enhance their livelihoods.
As a small-scale rice farmer. I dry my rice husks and store them in a small rented hut which has a capacity of only 12 bags. I therefore do not sell my rice husks to exploiting middlemen. This is in small-scale and has low returns. Young farmers are still not willing to wait for long to get returns from the rice farming. With higher selling rates at harvesting time, more young people would venture into rice farming to improve their livelihoods.
The success of this project is guaranteed. Uncertainties such as poor weather and availability of water are already tackled by an established irrigation scheme which provides water in cycles to rice farmers in Ahero. This also assures young farmers of water for their rice. I will measure the success of my project by (1) the number of youth groups formed and registered (2) the number of bags they produce per acre of rice they plant (3) livelihoods provided by the better prices they fetch from selling their rice and (4) the profit I make from selling the end product to the consumer. I have a piece of land available to construct a storage facility to store the harvested rice husks.
I intend to use the US$5000 grant to construct a bigger store, in the land I own, that can store up to 200 (two hundred) 90kg sacks of rice husks. The grant will be used to; organize and register 4 youth farmer groups in Ahero Kenya, train these youth on financial literacy and the benefits of table banking, provide rice seeds and other farm input to the 4 youth groups to grow rice in their farms (at least 1 acre per group), construct a store of 200 bags of rice capacity and purchase the rice harvested from the youth groups farms and store for future selling.
The project budget entails;
(1) US$ 100 to organize and register 2 youth farmer groups of at least 10 young people each in Ahero 50 per group. This will take up to 31 days.
(2) US$ 300 to train the youth groups on financial literacy and the benefits of table banking. This will take 2 days.
(3) US$ 600 to provide rice seeds and other farm input to the 2 youth groups to grow rice in their farms (at least 1 acre per group) @ US$300 per group. This will be in tandem with the growing season as allocated by the Ahero Rice Irrigation Scheme. A planting season lasts 90 days.
(4) US$ 2000 to construct a storage facility, using wood and iron sheets, with 200, 90kg bags capacity. This will be done in 21 days.
(5) US$ 2000 to purchase the rice harvested from the youth groups farms and store for future selling. This lasts about 2 weeks within the harvesting period.
My project will be replicated to 2 other youth groups, following the same process, for every planting season ultimately impacting on a larger population of young farmers. I foresee constructing a bigger warehouse for storing more produce as more harvest is envisaged from the engagement of more young farmers in the area.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Emmanuel Ngore (Kenya) –emmanuelngore[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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