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Enterprise

Plan to train and link small scale farmers to markets

Vegetable vendor at a market.
Vegetable vendor at a market. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Agriculture remains one of the most important pillars of the Kenyan economy mainly practiced by smallholder farmers.

However, most of them have been held back from meaningful farming for lack of proper training enough capital.

These are some of the challenges that Corteva Agriscience, a New York Stock Exchange-listed agriculture company, plans to address by training and linking farmers to the market.

About 20,000 farmers in the country will benefit from training programmes on sustainable agriculture practices to be launched by Corteva.

The programmes will see smallholder farmers access agricultural inputs, training and market linkages to increase their yields and household incomes.

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According to Humphrey Kiruaye, Corteva Agriscience Country Lead for Kenya and the Great Lakes Region, these initiatives are aligned to Corteva’ s 2030 sustainability goal to train 25 million farmers on sustainable agriculture practices and enrich the lives of 500 million farmers worldwide.

The programmes include the Corteva Agriscience Women in Agriculture (COWIA) programme where Corteva will provide technical support to women farmer groups.

Already, two thousand women farmers in Meru County, who are part of this programme have benefited from quality hybrid seed varieties from Corteva’s Pannar brand seeds in Kenya, and have been given access to agronomic education and on-farm training, extension services, access to financial services and market facilitation, linking them to strong commodity supply chains.

Another project is the One School One Acre (Shule Moja Eka Moja), where one-acre demonstration plots will be planted in 35 identified schools spread across seven counties in Kenya.

Phase one of the project targets to train 20,000 primary school learners and their parents about sustainable agriculture and food production.

“The harvest from the demonstration plots will go toward the school feeding programme and be used to supplement the government’s feeding programme. The parents will also learn about best farming practices from these model farms to enable them to replicate them at home,” said Mr Kiruaye.

Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of Corteva 2030 global sustainability goals, Mr Kiruaye said in Meru, where Corteva is already working with women farmers in sustainable agriculture practices, the beneficiaries have been able to increase their crop yield by 25 percent.

Joseph Anampiu, Corteva Agriscience Commercial Unit Leader for Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, said the launch of the project has come at a time when farmers are grappling with the Covid-19 challenges.

“The challenge is to reach farmers with the right information and at the right time,” he said.

Through the use of digital and social media platforms, Mr Anampiu saidCorteva had been able to reach over 100,000 farmers in Kenya through the SMS platform; some 20,000 farmers through Facebook, and 10,000 farmers through the WhatsApp platform, sharing crucial information on sustainable farming methods.

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