I am Peter Ouma Okoth Aluoch, 33, a Kenyan citizen, from Migori County, Nyatike, Aneko Location. I hold a BSc in Agricultural Economics from Egerton University. I’m an agripreneur, doing business in Poultry (broiler) production and processing, sale of organic fertilizer, and currently started an organic stall in Migori Town to sell organic vegetables and fruits.
The project will be based in Migori town because of its larger market and a premium on organic products. The farming activities are based in Nyatike, 20 km from Migori, from where we currently get our produce.
I will use my organic stall business as a private partner to 20 farmer-based organizations, with an average population of 200 farmers. And I will facilitate the sack-bag gardening technology-transfer training and adoption in addition to best agricultural practices. The technology involves one sack-bag of 50 kg, which can carry up to 25 tomato seedlings (for example) until harvest.
One acre (100 x 100) of land at a spacing of 65 cm x 75 cm accommodates 205 tomato plants. That means you only need 205/25 sacks, which is eight sacks for one acre, and produce between 37–50 fruits per tomato plant, or 20 tonnes per ha depending on the variety.
This technology is an innovation that requires little water, little space, reduced labour, reduced energy, no dangerous agro-chemicals used, and with very high yields compared to open-field farming. It’s good for small scale farmers with little land and youth/women who own no land but have interest in commercial farming. I have tried the technology with some farmers during this dry season and it worked well, as seen in the attached picture.
The stall will make contractual agreement with the farmers to supply the produce and terms of trade will be spelt out in the agreement. In this business model, roles will be shared as shown below.
The model will provide market assurance to the farmer groups, leading to stable incomes. And the organic stall will also benefit from a continuous supply of quality vegetables, thereby making a premium on the sale of the produce.
The choice of sack-bag technology is to ensure continuous production even during the dry season when there is little water and the farmers are not able to produce. At the same time, the organic stall will suffer a lack of organic vegetables affecting returns from sales.
Nyatike is a semi-arid area, experiencing one long rainy season a year and longer periods of drought. Given the high participation of the people in agriculture along the River Kuja, interventions that aim to develop the agro-industries are likely to have a higher impact on poverty reduction. However, the products offered by these people tend to be excluded in the increasingly competitive local agricultural markets that require products with an added value or with a standard quality and reliability in product delivery.
Most of these farming groups are not able to meet these standards, and are therefore not properly integrated into the value chain of the major agricultural commodity market systems. Consequently, they do not derive the optimum benefit from their farming activities. In addition, they are heavily affected by soil degradation and climate change, with its changing rainfall patterns and more extreme weather events.
This project seeks to improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder farmers in Nyatike by integrating restoration of natural ecosystems, facilitating a process of supporting the production and marketing of quality organic vegetables and fruits among 200 farmers, gender inclusion considered.
The project will promote organic agriculture, which combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.
The project’s main outcome is an increased share of organic vegetables being produced and marketed within Migori County by producer organizations and the organic stall. This will contribute to the development objective of increasing and stabilizing income among the producer and retailer sections of the population.
The Project activities are budgeted as follows and will begin with:
- The identification of farmer groups who have the potential to participate as organic vegetable/fruit producers by exploiting their comparative advantages: USD 500 (first quarter)
- Target groups will receive appropriate training in production management, product marketing, post harvesting management, financial management and group governance: USD 500 (First quarter, first–third month. Post-harvest training done second quarter)
- Purchasing and setting up of two more cooling systems for fresh leafy vegetables and additional fruits: USD 2,500 (Second quarter, fourth–sixth month)
- Dissemination of information among chain actors to ensure that trader groups and consumers are aware of the product, the need for healthy consumption and location of the organic stall in the market. This publicity will be carried out through sales promotions, advertisements, farmer field schools, sack-bag gardening demonstrations, product sharing, sensitizations, radio discussions, documentation, and sharing of best business practices. This will finally increase awareness, sales volumes, and profits to the organic stall, which will further expand: USD 1,000 (continuous from beginning till fourth quarter of the project)
- Monitoring visits to enhance adoption of best organic agricultural practices and estimate expected output from the farms: USD 500 (Continuous from the beginning of the project)
I have already put up the organic stall in Migori Town, set up two coolers for fruits and vegetables, and establish a small organic farm to supply the stall, which is not enough. This calls for the need to mobilize farmers to supply the stall.
Success indicators will be measured in terms of increased sales and profits of the organic stall, and increased supply, and incomes of the farmer organizations.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Peter Ouma Okoth Aluoch (Kenya): mailto:kokothpetro[at]yahoo.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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