Sorghum field day helps Kenyan smallholders tackle barriers


Sorghum? Perhaps not the most glamorous of grains. But did you know that it plays a key role in food security? In Kenya, for example, this resilient staple makes a crucial combination to household diets. Kenyan farmers with disabilities are now benefiting from a sorghum program between Syngenta Foundation East Africa and Sightsavers.  

Called the Global Labor Program (GLP-IF), this program recently held a farmer field day in Homabay County. The aim was to bring together smallholders, other key stakeholders, and county representatives to showcase interventions and agricultural extension services for the sorghum value chain.

“GLP-IF connects sorghum farmers, especially those living with disabilities, to East Africa Breweries Limited”, explains our Agricultural Services Operations Lead, Catherine Ndumbi. “The company provides a guaranteed market and favourable payment rates. Together, we also link the smallholders up with corporate supply chains, business finance and insurance products. This is all part of our wide-ranging efforts to improve farming household resilience.”

The Homabay field day attracted about 430 farmers. They had numerous opportunities to learn from the exhibitors, for example on the topic of mechanization.

“The program greatly assists me as a sorghum farmer”, reports Caleb Mvoga. “Through this field day, I met other farmers like me living with disabilities. On the demo plots, I also learnt about different sorghum varieties such as Seredo, Ramses and Andiwo.”  

What's next for this part of the program? “The Syngenta Foundation recognizes the need to focus on disability”, comments Catherine Ndumbi. “We are responding to barriers that exclude farmers with disabilities from participating fully in the labor market. We now need to ensure GLP-IF achieves its potential by using all our stakeholders’ and partners’ strengths to maximum advantage.”  

As the harvest season arrives, the initiative continues to support sorghum growers living with disabilities. A special focus will increasingly be on women farmers.