The issue of food security and sustainable livelihoods is central to all development interventions. This program focuses on delivering appropriate technologies and critical farm inputs to beneficiaries. It is founded on the premise that sufficient and nutritious food is a pre-requisite to dealing with development issues.
Africa Harvest’s vision of being a lead contributor in making Africa free of poverty, hunger and malnutrition recognizes that the key impediment to Africa’s food security is the underdeveloped agricultural sector. Other challenges include over-reliance on primary agriculture, low fertility soils, minimal use of external farm inputs and environmental degradation. Pre- and post-harvest losses, minimal value-addition and the lack of product differentiation also contribute to the vicious cycle of poverty.
The program recognizes that in most African countries, smallholders often make up 70% of the population. The program, therefore, seeks to pioneer innovative capacity building solutions for good agronomic practices, post-harvest handling, value addition and marketing. Other themes under this program include gender, HIV and AIDS mainstreaming for rural communities. The emphasis is on women and youth empowerment, agricultural value chains development and mobilization and capacity building of agro-entrepreneurs.
Improving availability and accessibility of clean planting material to farmers and building the capacity of select farmers as informal multipliers of orange fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP)
In Kenya – as in other African countries, both formal and informal seed systems are important in delivering seeds to SHFs. Seed systems are governed by policy frameworks that tend to disadvantage vegetatively-propagated seeds. Both formal and informal seed systems face major challenges related to timely delivery, variety diversification and sufficient volumes; some of the best efforts have failed to translate to improved accessibility of seeds by the farmers. Read more
Improving Smallholder Farmers’ access to bean varieties fortified with micronutrients for food and nutritional security
The INFAS project focuses on accessing farmers’ technological innovations that will impact food, nutrition and income to SHFs. The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is an important crop, especially in East Africa. It is grown by SHFs who mostly intercrop it with other crops. It grows in altitudes between 500 and 2,300 m above sea level and thrives where rainfall on verage is between 500 to 2,000 mm per annum. Read more
Value addition training to increase household sorghum consumption and ensure food security
The Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) project is a partnership project designed by the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Africa Harvest in partnership with the National Agriculture Research Centers (NARCs) in Kenya and Tanzania. The aim is to fast-track adoption of released sorghum cultivars in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya and Tanzania.
The project seeks to improve food and income security through increased sorghum production consumption at the household level. The project also seeks to enhance commercial market linkages for surplus grain as a means for income and livelihood diversification; this is because the commercial potential for use of sorghum as a raw material in food, feed, fodder and malting industries is far from being realized. Read More
Unblocking challenges related to access to quality sorghum seeds
In a 2013 baseline survey, the SMU project concluded that sorghum seed availability was a big challenge. The study revealed that the most important sources of improved seed were non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research centers, agro-dealers and local grain shops. Over 60% of farmers recycled seed from the previous harvest.
The findings led to the recommendation that the SMU project would train farmers on on-farm seed production and preservation. This would help improve the quality of recycled seed, given that on average, farmers use about 4 kgs of sorghum seed per acre, although more grain was preserved for replanting due to the low germination rates of the planted grain. Read more
Promotion, intensification and commercialization of short-cycle livestock products
The Food Security and Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya (FOSEMS) Phase II seeks to facilitate collaboration among sector stakeholders in order to promote increased competitiveness by commercializing meat and egg products. In July and August 2015, Africa Harvest conducted a study to take inventory of groups willing to upscale and commercialize poultry business, identified key constraints and opportunities for enhanced competitiveness and also documented success stories, especially after the end of Phase I in June 2013. Read more
Toggenburgs and Galla goats
The project purchased kids born from the 90 goats supplied to beneficiaries in Phase I. This helped create a local market for the beneficiaries. Diversification of breeds (Toggenburgs and Galla goats) was left as a choice for beneficiaries. Two buck (he goat) stations will be constructed at accessible locations where the neighboring communities can access cross-breeding services at a fee. The stations will be managed by vetted beneficiaries while the 100% purebred bucks will be sourced from registered goat breeders in Kenya.
The recipients intensified some of the activities done under Phase I of the project to improve production and marketing of produce but with special emphasis on understanding how beneficiary households can be facilitated to access expanded commercial markets and generate income. The beneficiaries are trained and equipped with manuals on goat rearing and management. In partnership with the Ministry of Livestock, beneficiaries were trained on how to form associations or cooperatives – or even join the existing ones – to support marketing and reduce transaction costs.
Partnerships forged with the Department of Livestock in the County Government of Makueni in both Makueni and Kibwezi West sub-counties are intended to enhance the long-term sustainability of the project.
Improved Kenbro and KALRO chicken
Poultry generally represents 30% of the agricultural contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (FAO, 2007). The poultry sector is important for income generation for SHFs (especially in rural areas), food security and economic growth. Poultry population in Kenya was estimated at nearly 37.3 million in 2009, 84% of which were indigenous, 8.3% layers, and 5.7% broilers, with all other birds making up the remaining 1.7%. Read more