Linking Groundnuts Farmers to Market
The Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP) Kenya program aims at enhancing competitive markets and food safety for selected produce across 12 counties in the country.
With groundnuts being among the value chain of this program’s focus, it is good news for farmers in Siaya and Busia.
A private company, Delish and Nutri, approached Markup Kenya offering to engauge in contract farming with groundnuts farmers in the two counties.
This followed trainings by MARKUP Kenya to farmers on Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and group dynamics and good governance.
Having learnt on the farmers’ trainings a private company approached MARKUP Kenya for market linkage, this, a quest for the project’s strife to create more markets for farmers in the 12 counties where it is implemented.
“We have a demand for 200 metric tonnes of groundnuts annually, yet we are only able to get half of this from local farmers,” said Michael Njuguna, an officer from Delish and Nutri, a company which specialises on processing nutritious food.
Njuguna called on farmers to produce quality produce by ensuring proper handling both on farm as well as post-harvest in a bid to keep infections such as aflatoxins at bay.
Jointly, farmers are able to enjoy economies of scale and meet high demand by processors who prefer buying produce in bulk.
“We have been facing challenges such as exploitation by brokers who take advantage when the supply is high and buy groundnuts at throw-away price,” said Michael Adhiwo, a farmer from Siaya.
With new possible market, farmers have been encouraged to form cooperatives and source for high yielding varieties.
“We have also agreed to have seed producers among us in a bid to ensure that we access quality planting material which are more tolerant amid climate change and resistant to pests and diseases,” said Adhiwo
Clean planting material for groundnuts is one issues set to be addressed by the European Union (EU)- funded Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP) Kenya which also linked farmers from Busia and Siaya to the new market.
Markup Kenya is implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in partnership with the government and private sector.
In Busia 21 group leaders expressed their interest to be engaged in contract farming saying they were ready to sign contracts with the buyer in December ahead of the next planting season.
After interacting with the potential buyer, the representatives resolved to go talk to other farmers and encourage then to take advantage of the maiden joint bulk market for groundnuts.
“I have renewed hope to go back to groundnuts, said, Teresia Nyapol, a farmer from Teso South.
In her first attempt back in 2017, she recalls having planted 3 acres of groundnuts from which she harvested 78 bags, each weighing 100 kilograms.
However, securing a market was such a struggle that it took her more than six months to finally get a buyer from Isibania, at the boarder of Kenya and Tanzania.
“The farmers are among those who have been trained on group dynamics and good governance as well as Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP),” said Maina Karuiru, the MARKUP Kenya’s National Project Coordinator.
Siaya County crops officer Davis Somollo hailed MARKUP Kenya saying through the program, over 180 farmers had already been trained on Global GAP. Another 100 are set to be trained in the near future, according to Somollo.
The trainings, he added, have come at the right time coinciding with a high demand for groundnuts in the country and beyond.
MARKUP Kenya Focal Point for Busia County Jane Nasaka welcomed the idea of contract farming saying it was motivating to the farmers and will increase income at household levels.
She disclosed that the county has more than 1,000 groundnuts producers each of them cultivating an average of one acre.
“However, most of the groundnuts production is done for subsistence farming and we are glad that with a new market, farmers are ready to commercialise this value chain,” said Jane
She recommended access to right clean material, saying this would enhance production thus income among farmers.
In June this year almost 300 groundnuts farmers from Homabay, Siaya and Busia counties were trained on food safety with a bias on afalatoxins control and management, thanks to MARKUP Kenya.
This and other trainings has been equipping them with knowledge, skills and practices to enhance production of safe food and thus, access to more markets.