This project seeks to develop a robust commercially and sustainable Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) Value Chain in Kenya and Tanzania. The project’s three objectives are: 1) to
establish a pilot small, trial-size version of a commercial-scale value chain in each country by actively linking the sorghum farmers to the market outlet for surplus grain, 2) to strengthen capacity of sorghum value chain stakeholders for increased production and marketing of SMU for consumption and malting industry, and 3) to develop partnerships with private seed companies to provide quality seed of SMU varieties to the participating households.
During the year under review, specific progress made with regard to Agricultural Markets and Policy Program include:
- Undertaking studies to determin sorghum variety preferences for various market segments and identifying which producer groups could meet this demand;
- Meetings with sorghum value chain stakeholders in the two countries to strategise on how best to unlock increased value and synergize. Through interactions, market preferences and produce quality specifications were shared. This information was also communicated to the sorghum farmers to enable them respond to specific market needs;
- Market streamlining activities included demand creation. Several large public and private sector organizations – such as World Food Programme (WFP), Unga Feeds, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and East African Malting Limited (EAML) – agreed to buy sorghum from the project farmers. This process was facilitate through setting Bulking Agents who have defined collection centres where farmers bring their produce;
- Through Equity Bank, farmers and other value chain players were trained in financial planning and provided with banking facilities and credit as needed. The Bank also provided advance loans to Bulking Agents especially during the period of high produce when farmers need to be paid for produce delivered;The project entered into negotiations with sorghum seed companies to ensure favourable pricing and timely supply of seeds;
- With the increased production, entrepreneurs have ventured into service provision; for instance, there is a thresher in six of the eight project districts. Recognizing that this would help create sustainable demand, the project responded by linking entrepreneurs with thresher importers and fabricators.
- The project initiated discussions with the government and major sorghum stakeholders to deliberate on policy issues that would help achieve food security and other development goals. ;
- The project established 13 grain buying centres to store the grain while awaiting collection by buyers. Before the grain was delivered to the collection centres, 17 stores were operated by different groups. Established grain collection centres attracted more sorghum grain buyers. ;
- The project has ensure that there are more suppliers providing inputs such as certified seeds, herbicides, crop protection chemicals (pesticides and fungicides), fertilizers and sprayers. Farmers’ access to certified improved sorghum seed has improved. Fertilizers and agrochemicals are now more available closer to the farmers.