FH in Kenya: from pre-commercial to commercial farmers
Syngenta Foundation East Africa aims to empower smallholder farmers by allowing them to move from pre-commercial to business farmers. The Foundation does this for the sustainability of this intervention through a commercial model known as the Farmers ' Hub. This model includes selecting a rural entrepreneur (a farmer's hubs owner) to handle a captive collection of 150-200 farmers and linking them to enable value chain aspects such as agri-quality inputs, markets, mechanization and consulting services. The project is currently located in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties with plans to expand to other regions. The Syngenta Foundation East Africa has partnered with organizations offering finances, insurance, markets, mechanization tools, quality inputs, extension services and trainings.
Last mile delivery of technologies is a major challenge in Kenyan agriculture 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 and yellow beans value chains in Nyandarua and Nakuru Counties. The model identifies a rural entrepreneur (farmer hub owner) to handhold a captive set of 150-200 farmers. The farmer hub acts as a one-stop shop for the agricultural needs of the farmers.
Four services are available at the hubs:
- Access to agri inputs: Financing including insurance, seeds, soil analysis, fertilizer, and crop protection
- Access to mechanization: plough, harrower, ridger, planter, sprayer, harvester, transplanter, grader, and weighing scale
- Access to market linkages
- Advisory services through trainings and demo farms.
The aim of the farmer hub project is to:
- Maintain a sustainable model that will link the smallholder farmer to the different value chain players in a more convenient and effective way 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 in a timely manner
- 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 farmers yields, income, generate employment and improve livelihoods
- Since the start of the farmers ' hub system in 2018, we have tested and validated the farmers ' hub company model by setting up four hubs in the Gatimu, Bahati, Ngano and Ngorika regions of Nyandarua.
- We have also established some key partnerships in the financing, input access and market linkages which have moved the farmers a step closer towards commercial farming.
- In one season, funding totaling $30,000 was extended to farmers and approximately 100 T of potato was delivered in the first year.
- In 2018, total insurance compensation worth $17,000 for losses due to unfavorable climatic circumstances was paid out to farmers.
- We are presently setting up extra farmer hubs in Nyandarua County to interfere in value chains for potato and vegetables and expand into Nakuru County to interfere in value chains for potato, soybean, sorghum, and yellow beans.