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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New dawn for farmers in Kajiado County

By Sheila Ngigi
With the new constitution and devolution all in place, agricultural stakeholders in Kajiado County have hit the ground running with the aim of working to make farming in the county the success it ought to be.
The 11th of June saw them, Isinya Maarifa center included, converge for a ground breaking meeting to chart the way forward. The meeting was convened by ASDSP “Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme” whose mandate correspond with the former body, NALEP National Agricultural and Livestock Extension Programme”. The multi-stakeholder meeting saw farmers, officials from the Agriculture and Livestock development, Non-governmental organizations, middlemen and agro vet owners all given the same platform to state their expectations and insights on how to improve farming in Kajiado.
ASDSP’s goal is “poverty reduction, food security and equity” while the goal is “ to increase incomes of all players in the value chain of agriculture”. Its 4 arms include:
This arm’s duties include monitoring and evaluating programmes on the ground and capacity building of all the players.
Environmental resilience and social inclusion
This is the arm that ensures an ecologically secure enabling environment through protection of the environment. It further ensures that all groups around the County are included; male, female, disabled, youth, the poor etc.
Value chain development  
This arm develops partnerships and promotes commercialization of the agricultural sector. Creation of Common Interest Groups was seen as a great way of achieving this arm’s goals.
Research and extension
This will involve engaging in continued research and actualizing findings by training farmers to implement them.
After the meeting, a prioritization tool was used to determine the most critical produce in the county. Points of reference included: competitiveness, potential for growth, food security and employment.
At the end of the exercise, the top priority farm produce were ranked as follows.
In ascending order with milk being #1 and onion last on the list:
  •          Onion
  •          Mutton (sheep)
  •          Maize
  •          Beef (cattle)
  •          Tomato
  •          Milk (cattle)

It was an eye opening exercise which clearly painted the picture of the county marking an informed beginning for all of us.

By Sheila Ngigi

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