Farmers’ Hub: Rural Farmer Support and Entrepreneurship.
The Syngenta Foundation East Africa endeavors to support rural smallholder farmers by identifying challenges facing them and translating these challenges into commercial opportunities. This is achieved through a commercial model known as the Farmers’ Hub. This model includes identifying and empowering a rural entrepreneur (Farmers’ Hub owner) to serve and link a collection of 150-200 farmers of a neighborhood to Agri-value chain aspects; mechanization, quality seeds, advisory services, and gainful markets.
The farmer hub acts as a one-stop-shop for the agricultural needs of the farmers. The project is currently in the counties of Nyandarua, Nakuru, and Laikipia with plans to expand wider to other regions to benefit farming communities. To provide several agricultural solutions, Syngenta Foundation East Africa is working in collaboration with partners offering financial, insurance, crop protection, mechanization, and extension services.
Last-mile delivery of technologies is a major challenge to Kenyan farmers as it requires an entire package from inputs to access to markets. Experience has shown that access to quality seeds is more effective when offered as part of a bundle of quality crop protection, post-harvest handling, and access to markets. Due to the inadequate sustainable last mile efforts, the farmers are yet to fully benefit from the current solutions in use. Typically, these bundled solutions have been sustainable when they generate income and are financially viable for those parties involved across the value chain.
The focus of the project is therefore on the last mile delivery of solutions to farmers through the implementation of the farmer hub model. The farmer hub model in Kenya was first established in 2018 in Nyandarua County. The model structure leverages on the progress and lessons learned from the Famer hub model in Bangladesh and Agripreneur model in India. In Kenya, the intervention is currently in the potato, soybean, sorghum, yellow beans, and vegetable value chains.
Available Services at the Farmers’ Hubs;
- Access to Agri inputs; Seeds, crop protection, soil analysis, fertilizer, financing, insurance, etc.
- Access to mechanization; land preparations, sprayer services, harvesting equipment.
- Access to market linkages.
- Advisory services: provided through field day training and demo farms.
The Farmers’ Hub project aims to:
- Maintain a sustainable model that will link the smallholder farmer to the different value chain players more conveniently and effectively to the benefit of both stakeholders.
- Assist the farmer access quality inputs among them certified seed.
- Assist farmers to access markets and to reliably supply production demands.
- Increase the access and use of mechanization promptly.
- Build capacity by providing advisory services on agricultural production systems and marketing.
- Augment productivity and quality of produce through access to quality inputs, technologies, and post-harvest handling
- Improve farmer's yields, income, generate employment, and improve livelihoods.
- Testing and validation of Farmers’ Hub concept in 2018 and part 2019.
- Establishment of 3 Network Managers, 70+ Farmers’ Hubs as of July 2020, reaching 10,000+ smallholder farmers.
- 26% of established Farmers Hubs are women-led.
- Creation of 200+ additional employment opportunities to rural communities.
- Reduced cost of production for the farmers as a result of improved access to inputs through the Farmers’ Hubs.
- Better market access for farmers as a result of produce aggregation at the Farmers’ Hub.
- Introduction of 5 new improved potato varieties and 3 new improved bean varieties to farmers.
- As of July 2020, total sales of USD 256,000 through the established Farmers’ Hub to farmers.
- Key partnerships with county governments, seed suppliers, financial institutions, input suppliers, local and inter-county market channels.