A Year Later, On the Path to Agribusiness
The Mango Tree Orphan Support Trust -Kenya has been implementing achievable ambitious plan of improving the livelihood of 1500 rural farmers through agribusiness. Over the last one year, the organization received £9530 and focused it on the following key activities: Construction of the grain store, mobilizing and registering farmers into a cooperative, and training farmers on modern agribusiness techniques. For the quarter under review, the organization planned and accomplished the following activities.
1. Completion of the Grain Store
The organization has so far completed the flooring, walling, roofing and plastering the inner wall of the grain store at the famers training center located in Mawego. As shown in the pictures attached, all these have been inspected by the relevant Authorities and certified as having met the required standards. The grain store design was modified to include a records office and a caretaker’s room to ease the operations of the cooperative society. The contractor had delivered the project on 31st December 2018 and the grain store will officially start operation on Friday 15th March with the delivery of maize seeds. This will be followed by the delivery of Soya seeds and other farm implements for the planting season.
2. Major achievement
The project benefited from a donation from TMT-UK which donated KES 1.5 Million for the purchase of a tractor. It has also committed a further KES 280,000. For the purchase of a moldboard plough.
3. Famers’ Cooperative Society.
Farmers’ Cooperative Society has successfully registered 400 famers. The executive election was done on 26th of January 2019 with a total number of 9 members (chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, vice- secretary, treasure, vice-treasurer and 4 committee members). The cooperative office was officially opened on 12th January 2019 and all the members can now access any loans in line with agriculture. Over 100 members have already been loaned with a sum of Ksh2, 000/= each for soya beans production. The organization has also seconded a staff to support in the management of records and accounts of the cooperative.
4. Farming activities
The organization conducted five onsite training session for the goats, soya bean, bee and aquaculture farmers. The trainings were done at the village level reaching 400 farmers (40 goat farmers, 47 bee keepers and 16 aquaculture farmers, 297 cooperative members in line with soya bean production). The trainings covered goats breeding methods and management, pond management, value addition from the soya beans, and bee keeping. As a result, the organization has purchased a new tractor which is in operation in most of the farms. The cooperative society members enjoy a subsidized price on the use of the tractor. The organization is still working out on how to restock the 8 Fish ponds along the lake which were washed away by the floods and at the same time we have a plan of constructing a cold room for storage of harvested fish. The office will conduct more training at the farmers training centre to empower the communities through agricultural activities.
5. Value addition
Following the continuous sensitization sessions with the farmers, the organization has noticed increased land tillage in the ongoing long rains. This will subsequently lead to increased harvest more so from the harvest of the soya beans by the end of June 2019 which will then be collected in the completed grain store and in future transformed into several products i.e beverages and food products. The organization is also working close with bee farmers on honey processing and marketing which gives a better income from the 141 bee hives. At the same time, we have a plan of purchasing a mango juice processer to reduce the throw away price of mango fruits during the harvesting periods. This will motivate the farmers to improve on production.
6. Innovations and collaborations
The organization has also collaborated with a company called Crossfield Promotions Limited, this company focuses on investing, developing and operating agribusiness in Kenya. Our collaboration is to empower farmers to plant Soya beans and developing a ready markets for the produce. Crossfield has developed a system of empowering the vulnerable families through loaning them an overdraft sum of Ksh.18, 000/= through Mpesa system purposed only for the purchase on agricultural inputs known as AGRIWALET. (Photos attached separately)
Funding remains a key challenge to complete the implementation this project.
Plans for upcoming quarter
1. Mobilize farmers towards agricultural management practices
2. Stock the ponds for the aquaculture farmers
3. Onsite training for goat, poultry, soya beans and bee keepers
4. Identify more markets and sell the grains on behalf of farmers