An electric fence opens new possibilities

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Drone in Kenya

In farming, “seeing is (often) believing”. Crop demonstrations and trade expos play a big role. But making services available also means protecting them. A Kenyan farm show provides a good example.

“Climate-smart” sounds great, but what does it mean in practice? Across Africa and Asia, our Foundation invests a lot of work in making that clearer to smallholders*. A recent example was the Kilimo Bihashara (“farming trade”) event at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). Our Kenyan team was among the co-organizers, together with the country’s Seed Trade Association STAK and other partners.

“The event focused on climate-smart farming for adaptation and increased productivity”, reports our local Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, Stephen Okeyo. “Our Seeds2B team presented good agricultural practices and climate-adapted seed varieties. The well-organized demo plots let smallholders see the results very clearly.” Colleagues were also on hand to inform about agricultural insurance and the Foundation’s Farmers’ Hub model.

Kilimo Bihashara attracted some 3000 farmers, together with government officials and other participants. More than 70 companies exhibited products and services. “For me”, comments Stephen, “a highlight was seeing KALRO’s new electric fence go into action, with the help of our Seeds2B PASTTA project. Technology like this can help revolutionize how people farm in Kenya.”

The fence is part of a broader range of support from PASTTA for KALRO’s important work. This support includes such varied aspects as guidance on seed production, help with greenhouse construction and lab refurbishment, as well as the development of a KALRO royalties policy. Smallholders will benefit directly from the improvements, for example, thanks to increased certified seed production and better access to training.

The electric fence and its energizer were launched by H.E. Stephen Munania, the Deputy Governor of Murang’a County”, Stephen adds. Munania was the principal guest of the Kilimo Bihashara expo. Four kilometers long, the fence now protects KALRO demo plots and seed multiplication sites. “As well as any human incursions, it should also shield the facilities from damage by hippos and other wild animals”, says Stephen.