Klaas de Vries via web
Business case 7 (BC7) focuses on capacity building of small entrepreneurial farmers to increase production and improve food safety of vegetables. The use of, amongst others, hybrid seeds, pest and disease control with biological means, and net-house technology are promoted to increase productivity and at the same time reduce the use of pesticides during the production of vegetables that are sold on the domestic market. In particular of interest in this business case are green leafy vegetables and tomatoes, as pesticide residue on the parts of these vegetables that are eaten by consumers are very high.
From March to June, trainings were conducted at seven lead farmer sites across Kenya. In total, over 1,500 farmers benefitted from the trainings and the farmer field days that are organised at the end of the training cycle. Lead farmer sites were located in Karinde (Kiambu), Solai, Gilgil, Kitale, Naromoru, Kitengela, and Narok. Originally, trainings were planned to take place at eight lead farmer sites. However, due to problems on the Kajiado site only the first two trainings took part in this location. It is expected that the Kajiado site will be included in one of the two next batches of lead farmer sites where trainings will take place.
Kenya Highland Seeds leads BC7 and plays an overall coordinating role during the trainings. Other companies that are partners in this business case are Koppert, Real IPM, Transglobal, CropNuts, SoilCares, Illuminum Greenhouses, Mea, Mavuno, and Syngenta. AgriProFocus, coordinated the organisation of farmer field days, which includes the mobilisation of farmers and exhibitors.
Lead farmers serve retailers such as Zucchini groceries, Urban Coffee restaurants, and Carrefour supermarkets, where there has been a growing demand for vegetables produced with production practices that result in improve food safety. Farmers were also impressed by the vertical grow bag technology demonstrated by Real IPM. With this technology, farmers are able to grow more green leafy vegetables on small spaces.
The next BC7 trainings at eight lead farmer sites are scheduled to start in October.