GFAR blog

YAP proposal #150: Smallholder Agro-Input Accelerated Access (SAIAA) (Wycliffe Ondoro, Kenya)


“They say make hay when the sun shines, I say buy hay when you have access and money.”

I am Wycliffe Ondoro, 33, from Kenya, from Kisumu County. Together with my partners we run a private consultancy called Great Lakes Agricultural Solutions Kenya (GLAS-K).

The work force (labour) is said to be concentrated in the rural communities where studies show that more than a half of the people live below USD 1.25 a day. The majority are women who are faced with many challenges: from information access to the bigger global challenge of climate change.

I strongly believe that a community that is empowered has access to reliable information and enjoys the created conducive policy environment for any acquired information to thrive on. This is the reason behind GLAS-K.

Under its Smallholder Agro-Input Delivery System (SAIDS) initiative, GLAS-K contributes directly to addressing limited access to agro-inputs and makes an indirect contribution to expanding a limited extension service, poverty alleviation, low productivity, and unequal access to productive resources by women. This is as shown by five of the 16 key challenges identified by the studies of Farming First.

The goal of the initiative is to increase productivity per unit area through improved maize seeds and farming practices. An initiative geared towards ensuring that a group of farmers from a maize-clustered area or zone has the right maize seed at their doorstep and can undertake good agricultural practices.

This will solve the accessibility challenges given that the few agro-dealers there are are located in market centres and towns, far from the maize growing areas of the county. Moreover, the agro-dealers are only in business during the on-season, when planting is the main activity, but still do not serve a majority of farmers.

With the established committees from the common interest groups (CIGs) on-ground, GLAS-K will identify farmer groups (especially youth and women) who need to do maize crop production in the maize-growing zones of the Homabay, Kisumu, Siaya and Busia sub-counties, after a needs-assessment exercise.

This is an initiative that will embrace the supply-driven approach, where farmer-group members will register the quantity of maize seed required as per the area of land available for maize production. This will be documented as collected-cash amount equivalent to quantity requested by individual farmers.

Once registered and the cash amount collected by the group treasurer, GLAS-K will then source and deliver the right maize seed varieties relevant to the area’s agro-ecological zone (AEZ), in collaboration with seed companies and distributors in their respective collection/meeting centres.

Given a pool of agricultural experts within the team, GLAS-K will offer training on best agricultural practices, like land preparation, seed selection, planting, fertilization, pest and disease management, and postharvest handling. Subsequent follow-ups may be requested by farmer groups or individual farmers.

Financial Rationale

The targeted 1,000 farmers per sub-county assumes each has a minimum of one acre, thus require 10 kg of maize seed. An individual farmer will add KES 20 (i.e. Kenyan Shillings) on the buying price of that particular 2 kg seed packet, to cater for the logistics that GLAS-K will incur.

This means, for the 1,000 acres envisaged, 10,000 kg of maize seed will be delivered. The firm will then accrue KES 100,000 as a guarantee that the inputs will reach the farmers. The additional KES 20 will still be within the margin of the retail prices.

This will inculcate a culture of ownership as the firm strives to bring on board other stakeholders; those who can contribute to the improvement of the local community families livelihoods. Again the community will be able to access the right seed efficiently and conveniently before the onset of rain season hence increase production per unit area.


During the long rain season (March–June 2015), the firm together with one of the distributors (Awendo General Stores) supplied 2,000 kg of maize seed to a total of 300 farmers in Rangwe sub-county of Homa Bay County. The target was not reached as many farmers still doubted whether the seeds will be delivered after collecting their contribution.


However, the firm supplied 800 kg of maize on credit to desperate farmers who could not raise that amount though paid later as guaranteed. These are some of the isolated situation that firm feels would be addressed if extra funds are mobilized.

Thus, the need to request USD 5,000 grant: to cushion the firm and farmers in such desperate situations through establishing a satellite depot to ease and ascertain availability.

The success will be measured by the number of farmers who register and pay for the seed, total acreage under maize production, the productivity level, and those who actually applied the good agronomic practices learned. All these will be aided by the support of the established farmer committee who will be village-agent trained in basic financial literacy, simple monitoring, and evaluation protocol.

Future Plan

To empower the small farmer groups through a co-operative for enhanced bargaining power and enjoy the economies of scale.

With the USD 5,000 grant, the firm will put aside:

  • USD 1,000 for training in the enterprise value chain, between April and July 2016, before onset of rain season
  • USD 300 for demonstration plot establishment, where practical learning will be conducted from August to November 2016
  • USD 1,500 will be to train the village agents who will co-ordinate maize seed delivery and spearhead the development of co-operative movement.
  • USD 2,000 for co-operative formation, to run and manage the venture, with or without our firm, which will be a continuous, intensive process for a period of nine months.
  • To comply with laws of Kenya, USD 200 will be used to legally register the co-operative.

We believe that with the proper instituted co-operative, other agro-inputs, like fertilizer, agrochemicals, and farm implements, will be stocked at the established satellite depots.

Together, we can improve the food security status of farming using the right agro-inputs to transform livelihoods for many families living in rural communities.


Blogpost and picture submitted by Wycliffe Ondoro (Kenya): wondoro7[at] 

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #150 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

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73 thoughts on “YAP proposal #150: Smallholder Agro-Input Accelerated Access (SAIAA) (Wycliffe Ondoro, Kenya)”

  1. Thank you for the post. The title should read “Smallholder Agro-Input Accelerated Access” not Smallholder Agro-Input Accelerated Success. So administration can correct this. Otherwise the content is relevant as the aim is to make it easier for the smallholder farmers to access basic agro-inputs such as seed, fertilizer and pesticides. Future goal is to fully empower the smallholder farmer by establishing and joining a co-operative.
    Please anyone reading this, support the noble initiative to leverage our farmers and community at large from abject poverty caused by food insecurity. It will only be possible if I get your comments and likes to see how best we can tackle this together.
    Thank you.

  2. Good work for the effort. We need such simple and workable initiative if food insecurity is something to be addressed. Kudos

  3. Wooow this is great initiative to support farmers with inputs to boost production

    1. Yes Sylvan that is the simple thing we can start with. A lot will come later as time goes. Thanks

  4. The concept works well and it in forms the farmers well in advance on any eventuality. great idea

    1. Thanks Kwama it will properly function if farmers are in a cooperative society. This will ensure sustainability.

    2. In addition Kwama, we are thinking to incorporate crop insurance index though still conducting research to see its practibility. A thought for another time.

  5. Having interacted and worked with the lead person of this consultancy i believe this is a noble idea that need to be built on to ensure food security for the residents of the larger Nyanza region

  6. Way to go Wycliffe..I like the approach your organization is presenting to farmers. It’s a win win situation for all the parties involved and a step towards improving food security.

    1. Sure Caroline it is a mutual benefit. However, at the end we want the farmer to win big. Thank you.

  7. i am brhanu tadese from ethiopia graduated by geograph and environmental study in mekelle.i need to study by Msc of environmental study

    1. brhanu I think your comment is misplaced but you can search locally and internationally on such openings Thanks

  8. Great idea for smallholder farmers towards fighting food insecurity as well as alleviating poverty. The implementation plan is simple and very workable in a rural setting.
    Isaac Mann
    Food Security Expert with a global orientation based on Rural Development

    1. Thanks Isaac and accessibility to basic agro-inputs is key in tackling food availability and access.

    1. Thanks Elisha. I agree with you that proper monitoring mechanisms need to be put in place for full success.

  9. ondoro
    this is a great idea that if fully supported and operation we will see the level of food security in the mentioned area improved. there few areas noted of concern… your introduction should be from Kisumu county, Kenya………the workforce (labour) is concentrated in rural area……………….and not said to

      1. Exactly that is what we are passionate to achieve. Remember Rome was not build in a day. Thank you.

  10. Hallo Wycliffe,

    This is a superb initiative, very suitable in addressing the unique challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the target counties. I am impressed by the approach in granting access at cost in stead of handouts. All the best.

    1. I agree with you Calvins granting at cost will inculcate the culture of ownership as oppose to free handouts. Thanks

  11. Wicky this is awesome. Smallholder farmers in africa have a myriad of challenges. Its good to see some of them being solved. Goodluck to you and the team.

  12. Hi Wicky.This is a good initiative that will greatly improve the living standards of the rural poor communities.

  13. Ondoro this is a fantastic Idea because it touches on food security .Your choice of maize seed whose availability defines famine in your area of consideration is so spot on.I hail from the region where you intend to run your project and trust me your project will be life changing not only to the 1000 farmers you are targeting but to many more because locals have serious difficulty in accessing quality seeds.People mainly rely on low quality maize seeds some of which are not even suitable for the area.I hope USAID will support you to make this a reality.
    Great stuff.Kudos for the brilliant idea.

    1. Thank you Jabes for wonderful comments. This is like a motivation to me and my team that it is possible. Lets hope for the best.

    2. I noticed you have mentioned USAID, they are also potential financier. However, for this project it under Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development #GCARD3.

  14. This a very bright idea wicklyf..I hope u guys are going to access the grant on time and reach out to grassroots as far as possible. Food security is power

  15. This is a nobble idea that will help in the transformation of our farmers’ livelihood for the better. Keep up. Hope you get the support to make a difference in the region.

  16. Good idea. Just two challenges you need to work on : Supplying the right fertilizer to the right soil conditions because this is not based on agroecological zone but the individual farmers soil. So work on this too since many farmers may participate but the output may turn the heat on your organisation for a problem just on the soil conditions.
    2) The idea of eliminating the local agrodealers in the value chain is difficult and not economical in the general perspective of achieving self sufficiency in food production. Look into an idea of bringing them on board because they are part of that farm society and more trusted by the farmers than your organisation.
    I like the idea since it’s not giving inputs for free and I may advise you more.

    1. Thank you Dorrant for the insight. We don’t intend to eliminate the agro dealers but work together with them. The only problem with them is that they are in business where profit is key. Our organization will just blend on what they are doing but in social business approach where mission is to see the social impact. They are part of our network. Ours is to ensure that the inputs reach the farmers on time. As you rightly put it no giving of inputs free meaning we have to buy them from these same accredited agro dealers at a discount to cater for service of delivery.
      Otherwise your ideas are welcome to contribute to the success of this noble initiative ensure sustainability.

    2. Check at the linkage figure above, the agro dealers can fit well at the input distributors level.

  17. Indeed smallholders need simple methods or approaches to solve their problems especially the problem of food security.
    The problem of poor quality inputs is so rampant thus low production which leaves the smallholder to continuously depend on handouts especially at the time that they should have enough food on the table and also incomes. With a well coordinated approach like this Wicky we are good to go. I believe smallholder once given what they deserve and build trust on an approach, they will always identify with it and improve on productivity and change the way we do things as professionals in the agriculture sector. This is a good idea to be piloted and later be up-scaled and out-scaled

    1. Well stated Fatuma and believe in empowerment which start from mind set to the trust between parties. We hope to up-scale it. Thank you.

  18. Thank you all for your comments. I also welcome your criticism and inputs to improve on the project design. Just post your questions or concerns for answers. Remember the closing date is on 11/03/2016. Let the conversation continues…

  19. Great initiative WYcliffe. The issue of access to inputs by smallholder farmers have very significant gains on the food security status of many countries in the Global South. I have no doubt in my mind that with the right response analysis effective and appropriate strategies can be formulated from this initiative to tackle food insecurity.

  20. It is nice i like it because you work with agro dealers with out eliminate their knowelege
    and it is help full for farmers for food security purpose.

  21. I like it it is nice because you do with out eliminate the knowledge of agro dealers
    so it helps for farmer sustainable food security.

    1. The agro dealer are the main stake and our aim is just to make agro inputs accessible. Thank you.

  22. Its a great idea as it comes at a time when food insecurity is big issue in our country.I like your approach of planning to start from grass root in our rural areas which for a long time has been forgotten.Wish you well

  23. Ondoro, I have read through your proposal, a great approach towards ensuring increased productivity among the small holder farmers in Nyanza. I’m proud of you.

  24. Congrats for initiating such idea. It’s workable and home grown solutions to accessing hybrid seed on time by rural farmers. The next step is to incorporate fertilizer use and lastly post harvest handling, as a means of ensuring maximum production is achieved and gains well secured for the market (whether immediate or future sales).

    1. Thank you Kimani. Incorporating other forms of agro input and addressing postharvet management is in the pipeline.

  25. For Kenya to be great we need people like Odoro. Good workable food s security plan.

    We are working with him here in meru and he his changing lives of people here. God bless you Odoro.

  26. This initiative is very timely for the rural smallholder farmers. I like the approach of aggregating them in order to access quality inputs and for post harvest produce management and marketing. I would recommend the inclusion of a soil testing aspect in order to optimise on the inputs and for application of suitable soil amendments to achieve the maximum yields. I believe the aggregation model can allow for zoning of land areas to make the testing more cost effective for the small holder farmers. Kudos for this great initiative and all the best.

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