The Mango Tree Orphan Trust Fund -Kenya has been implementing achievable ambitious plan of improving the livelihood of 1500 rural farmers through agribusiness. It has been more than a year since the project was initiated and a number of agribusiness projects have been initiated and are ongoing. The project’s fundraising target is $50,000 and we have been able to raise $13,490. This amount has been used to construct a modern grains store, construction of a modernized poultry farm, buying the poultry farm inputs, buying of the poultry feeds milling machine and has been used to loan the registered farmers in the cooperative society capital for buying soya bean seeds for planting. This same amount has been used to initiate a number of agribusiness activities that benefit the farmers. The key agribusiness activities here include: goat farming, poultry farming, apiculture, aquaculture, cassava farming, ground nuts farming, mango farming and soya beans farming. For the quarter under review, the organization planned and accomplished the following activities:
i. Extension of the Grain Store Building
The already built grain store was extended to create room for farm manager’s office and the cooperative executive committee office.
ii. Famers’ Cooperative Society
Farmers’ Cooperative Society has successfully registered 650 local famers. The cooperative executive committee has been supportive towards implementation of the cooperative agenda by initiating and running agribusiness activities that help in improving the livelihood of the registered farmers and their household members within Homabay and Migori Counties. Through the help of The Mango Tree Orphan Support Trust office, the farmer’s cooperative society developed a Management Information System (MIS) that keeps the farmers’ register, their projects, their loaning history as well as their monthly shares contributions. The cooperative opened a dedicated bank account for proper saving and management of the members’ deposits and agribusiness output sales.
iii. Farming Activities
The organization in partnership with the registered local farmers, County and National Government agricultural extension officers and other agribusiness institutions implements a number of agribusiness projects within Homabay and Migori Counties. The organization is implementing the following specific agribusiness projects:
- Soya Bean Farming - We partnered with Crossfield Ltd (a global agribusiness organization based in Kenya) to train the farmers on the Soya bean farming and management. They provided the soya bean seeds and herbicides for controlling soya bean weeds at subsidized prices. They conducted 5 training sessions during soya beans farming awareness campaigns and 3 planting demo sessions and 1 herbicide spraying session. A total of 240 farmers are participating in this soya bean farming in a plantation of about 520 acres of land. The soya beans are nearing the flowering stage and the organization has sourced for market from Promasidor Kenya (a company that uses Soya bean to produce Sossi feed) where their Director visited 40 acres soya farms in Homabay County to give more advice on soya bean farm management and assured the farmers of ready market.
- Apiculture – The organization has a total of 175 bee hives that benefit a total of 66 farmers. All the hives that were harvested in this reporting period yielded 1,830 kg of honey that were sold to the local market.
- Aquaculture – There are a total of 45 fish ponds that are managed by 25 farmers in Homabay County. All these ponds were stocked in May 2019 as planned with a total of 29,000 fingerlings and they are expected to be ready for harvesting in December 2019.
- Poultry Farm – The organization built a modern poultry house with a capacity of 3,000 birds. This project mainly keeps local broilers with few layers. There is a total of 1,300 broilers and 517 layers. The organization’s key core value is cost efficiency and to this effect, this project has got 2 incubators of a capacity of 528 eggs each that has got a hatching rate of 80-85%. Out of this, 30% of the chicks are kept in the project’s poultry farm and sell 70% to the farmers at subsidized prices. The chicks are sold when they are 1 month old as opposed to 1 day old so as to reduce death rate since they are fed and vaccinated appropriately before giving them out to the farmers. The 517 layers are our main source of eggs for stocking in the 2 incubators. Furthermore, this project has got a milling machine that is used for preparing the chick feeds internally hence minimizes on the cost of operation. The project targets to stock a total of 3000 birds by September 2019.
- Cassava Farming – We have a total of 1050 acres of cassava plantation benefiting 350 farmers and their families directly.
- Ground Nuts Farming – The main reason for ground nuts farming is the plan that the organization has of producing peanut butter for selling in the local market to increase on the income. There are 250 farmers with 600 acres of ground nuts plantation that they expect to harvest in the next 2 months.
- Mango Farming – The Mango Tree it is! There are 450 farmers with a total of 4,500 grafted mango trees and 2,250 indigenous (not grafted) mango trees. The farmers have been selling mangoes to consumers but most of them that have excessively ripen get thrown away hence a waste of the produce. To avoid this, a juice processor has been purchased to be used in processing mango juice so as to ensure that all the mango fruits are put into use for exchange with money to improve in the income.
- Goat Farming – 173 indigenous nanny goats have been distributed to 173 farmers in Homabay and Migori Counties. The same farmers received 40 exotic bucks to serve the nanny goats so as to get upgraded breeds. A total of 97 kids have been passed on to other farmers making the total goat beneficiaries to be 270.
Value Addition, Innovations and Collaborations
The organization has been holding farmers training sessions for continuous sensitization on the best farming practices as well as the best farm inputs for the best yield. Moreover, the organization has partnered with farm input producers and research organizations like Crossfield (Soya farming), Olerai (Maize farming), Homabay County government’s Ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries on the extension trainings and Department of Cooperative Society for cooperative society management.
The organization has been processing honey harvested from the farmers and do packaging with brand new and well branded and labeled containers just like the industrial processed honey. This help us fit well in the market to compete with the other manufacturers.
The project is in the process of processing, packaging and selling both mango juice and peanut butter as well.
The project target was to register 1500 local farmers into the cooperative society and involve them in implementing a number of agribusiness projects. 650 local farmers have successfully registered and are actively taking part and benefitting from the projects that are in place. Even though the targeted amount expected to fund these projects is $50,000, the $13,490 that is already raised has been put into use in implementing various productive projects. These projects have got a lot of opportunities in every initiated project and therefore, have planned to make use of these opportunities to expand on the projects already in place to ensure value addition to ensure that the end products are of good quality and of the best standards.
- There was a prolonged drought in between January and May 2019 that delayed planting of soya bean.
- Power fluctuations is a challenge in the poultry farm. The incubators require 100% availability of electricity for the best hatching rate. Power outage makes the project cater for the expensive cost of fuel for generator that acts as a backup when there is power outage.
- The organization is grateful to the donors who constantly support the projects trough donation. However, funding remains a key challenge to implementing this project since the funds raised has not been enough for successful implementation of the activities. Out of the $50,000 budget, $13,490 has been successfully fundraised and the organization is, therefore, appealing to the donors for continued support. The organization is also utilizing all available opportunities in the various projects to ensure that it gets income from the various projects to fund and expand on its projects. Moreover, the organization utilizes the cheap labor from the community volunteers as well as the senior beneficiaries who support the organization as a way of giving back to the community.
Plans for Next Quarter
- Ground nuts project plans to ensure value addition to ground nuts by processing the peanut butter hence, there is a plan purchase the peanut butter processor.
- There is a total of 55 farmers groups that does savings and table banking on their own. The project plans to help these groups with money for table banking to boost on their loan interests.
- In the process of processing mango juice, the mango peels are always thrown away as waste though these are the best raw materials for processing wine. There is a plan to purchase a wine processor.
- The poultry farm currently produce chick feeds for internal use but there is a plan for producing more feeds to be sold to the farmers who buy the one-month old chicks from the farm
- Poultry project has got a plan of purchasing a solar powered incubator so as to solve the problem of power fluctuation that reduces the hatching rate.Attachments: