KITUI COUNTY, 27th September 2023: AGRA in partnership with the Cereal Growers Association (CGA) convened a pre-planning preparation forum with key stakeholders to reinforce regenerative agriculture practices in Makueni and Kitui counties.
Through the Strengthening Regenerative Agriculture in Kenya (STRAK) Project, funded by the IKEA Foundation and AGRA, the partnership is entering its second phase following a successful initial phase in 2020/2021. The project’s core objective is to assist smallholder farmers in diversifying their crops, exploring new income sources, and adopting regenerative farming techniques to enhance soil health.
In attendendance was chief guest, County Executive Comissioner for Agriculture in Kitui County Dr. Stephen Kimwele, who stressed the importance of sector players:
“It’s vital to consider agricultural produce markets and foster collaboration among Government, County Government, NGOs, and the Private Sector,” said Dr. Kimwele.
The fourm, preceding the anticipated October to December rains, brought together implementing partners of STRAK and representatives from various sectors of the agricultural value chain in the lower Eastern region.
With the aim of reaching 100,000 farmers, the forum seeks to foster sustainable development in food and farming systems through innovative and regenerative models tailored to specific contexts. It also emphasized climate resilience and food security while providing comprehensive support to farmers and across the entire value chain.
Speaking at the forum, AGRA’s STRAK Project Program Office Dr. Abednego Kiwia reaffirmed that the project seeks to encourage adoption of regenerative agriculture while increasing outputs for farmers in the region.
“The STRAK Project seeks to increase the productivity of farms, advocate for adoption of agricultural policies in county governments, and to promote resilience through home gardens, water conservation, poultry keeping and agroforestry. Through our implementing partners, the Project will see an increase in maize output in farms of the lower Eastern region in Kenya from 1.8 metric tonnes per hectre to 6 tonnes per hectre,” said Dr. Kiwia.
Farmers are poised to gain a wealth of knowledge on Regenerative Agriculture, spanning a wide spectrum from seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals to effective storage methods. AGRA’s commitment lies in bridging the gap between suppliers and farmers, ensuring that agricultural products, brands, and the knowledge and skills needed to utilize them are readily accessible to farmers.
Also present, CGA Regenerative Agriculture Project Manager, George Maguka, reported:
“Over 300 trained Village Based Advisors (VBAs) are now deployed, addressing the gap left by the limited number of Agricultural Officers on ground. We focus on drought-resistant seeds, offer extension services, and training to boost food production, including Home Gardens targeting malnutrition and circular business models for sustainability,” said Maguka.
Presentations covered a wide array of topics, including fertilizers, soil conditioners, seeds, crop protection, agro-chemicals, storage methods, and service provision.
Looking ahead, the partners agreed to support farmers with technology and machinery like augurs and rippers that improves soil health and diverse crops that increase productivity ahead of the rains.