The goal of MFAGRO is to bring new technology to its members and the farmers of Vihiga County, Western Kenya. We recognize the N2Africa Program and its partners CIAT, MEA Ltd. and Promasidor for assisting our group toward that end over the past year (2012) and we look forward to working with you during 2013. Much of MFAGRO’s effectiveness and growth we owe to our collaboration. Over the past year, we conducted five farmer field days with N2Africa that were attended by 573 farmers (51% women). We also established an exhibit at the Provincial Agricultural Show in Kakamega and contributed to World Food Day celebrations in west Kenya.
Our BNF technologies were extended to 1320 new farmers exploring soyabean production on 200 m2, and 75 progressive farmers producing at least 0.5 acre contributing to the N2Africa tender with Promasidor Ltd. Using our own resources, we reached an additional 300 members that were attracted to soyabean as a result of local N2Africa outreach efforts. We also promoted climbing beans (cv Kenya Tamu) among 120 members. In this way, we reached 1815 farmers and spread our activities over five administrative districts during 2012. This work was conducted by seven Master Farmers and one Legume Processing Officer, all trained by N2Africa. Our group was visited by the N2Africa Project Leader, the new Program Coordinator, the Legume Agronomy Leader and the Kenya Country Mentor during 2012, offering appreciation, useful advice and encouragement to our members.
In several ways the activities of N2Africa and MFAGRO are closely aligned. We now produce over 2.5 tons of improved legume seed per season for sale to our members. We have established both a farm inputs supply shop and a grain legume market collection point. Our members engage in value addition to soyabean as a cottage industry, and our soymilk, soya beverage and mixed flour cakes are widely appreciated. N2Africa recognized these achievements by inviting a group officer on its recent farmer’s tour through MEA Ltd, KARI-Muguga, Promisidor’s soyabean processing factory and CIAT Headquarters in Nairobi. This tour helped us to better know the operations of our development partners, suppliers and buyers, and to better grade soyabean for specific markets.
MFAGRO’s officials standing in one of their soyabean seed multiplication fields during the 2012-2013 Short Rains (Photo Dick Morgan Ongai)
Farm inputs and soyabean products on display during the Provincial Agricultural Show in Kakamega, Western Kenya (Photo Dick Morgan Ongai)
We still face several challenges in promoting BNF technologies among Vihiga’s smallholders. Farm inputs must reach our members on time, which requires greater planning skills among our officials and cooperators. Additional training of farmers is needed, and N2Africa now informs us that its training activities will soon end. We have experienced delays in farmer’s payment for collectively marketed soyabean, putting our group in a difficult position. Vihiga is prone to hail, and this damages soyabeans more than most other crops. Most agro-dealers not working with N2Africa still do not stock Sympal fertilizer and BIOFIX inoculant. We need help in addressing these issues, but working together is strength as we move toward food security among poor households and our nation. And together we shall continue bringing improved BNF technologies to Vihiga’s farmers during 2013 and beyond!
Dick Morgan Ongai, Activities Coordinator, Mwangaza Farmers Group Organization. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org