Training new operators turns several good wheels
Young Farmers’ Hub staff learn their way around tractors
Our Farmers’ Hubs run a wide range of activities. They include support for mechanization. In some countries*, the enablement of new tractor drivers plays an increasing role. One example comes from Kenya, where 37 Farmers’ Hub staff recently completed a Toyota-sponsored course.
“Empowering young farmers’ hub employees to become certified tractor operators can significantly improve their job prospects”, reports our local Head of Agriservices, Teddy Nyanapah. “Increasing the number of skilled drivers also boosts both farm safety and efficiency.”
The Farmers’ Hub staff training runs for one week. On the practical side, it focuses on correct operation, basic maintenance and servicing, and appropriate use of implements. Theory topics include the importance of mechanization and its role in sustainability, as well as the types of machinery available and financial models for tractor access.
In August and October, two groups of trainees met at the Agriculture Training Centre in Nakuru. They benefited from the support of the Toyota Foundation and a Toyota Group company, CFAO Kenya Ltd. CFAO is the local distributor of two well-known tractor models. “Importantly, it is also a leader in training and other aspects of providing mechanization solutions to our country’s farmers”, Teddy adds.
Teddy’s team chose the course participants carefully from numerous Farmers’ Hub nominees. After five days of training, they had to pass an assessment. At the October certification ceremony, the new tractor operators planted trees to celebrate. Successful candidate Wilson Gathige said: “Before I came here, I was intimidated by tractors and did not know how to operate them. But thanks to this training I am now familiar with mechanization and can help smallholders who need tractor services.”
“Good training is crucial across agriculture”, comments Lucy Kioko, Director of Syngenta Foundation East Africa. “But it is always only part of the picture. With mechanization, for example, we also need to strengthen aspects such as access to finance for future tractor owners, as well as aftersales servicing and maintenance. We’ll be working on those topics in the months to come.”
*For another example of our commitment to mechanization, see how tractor rental puts Nigerian women in the driving seat.