By: Emily Mikwa
The National Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP) begins in earnest with the sensitization of the Sub County Administrators from both National and County Governments together with key stakeholders from the NGOs and the CBOs.
The project which is to be implemented in 32 Counties is co funded by the World Bank, National and County Governments, of which Kisumu County is part.
The National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP) is a five- year project designed to contribute to the transformation of the smallholder farming systems by facilitating transition from subsistence to commercial farming through increased value addition and market participation.
The NAVCDP’s development objective is to increase market participation and value addition for targeted farmers in select value chain in the project areas.
It is envisaged as the natural progression from National Agriculture and Rural Inclusion Growth Project (NARIGP) and Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) that will deepen investments to scale up existing interventions around productivity enhancement, community led farmer extension, water management investments at county level and data driven value chain services.
According to the County Project Coordinator, Mr. Sylvester Okech, the workshop held at the Pride Hotel in Bondo, aimed at sensitizing the key stakeholders at the Sub County level on the new project, farmer profiling and mapping, introduction of participatory community integrated processes to help the community to identify and prioritize the development activities they would like to engage in line with the project development objectives.
While presiding over the official opening of the workshop, the Senior DCC from Kisumu West Sub County Mr. Nalianya Wanyonyi who represented the County Commissioner said it was a learning session on best practices that can add value to the agriculture sector which remains the back bone of Kenya’s economy.
He called on the two levels of governments to set a side enough financial resources to facilitate moving away from subsistence to commercial farming for the country to be food sufficient.
He added that farmers require inputs to produce, technical know how to know what to produce, hence there is need to apply the new technologies and deploy technical officers at various administrative levels to advise farmers on how to improve production.
The County Monitoring and Evaluation officer Who doubles up as the Budget Officer, Mr. Benard Kagunza, highlihgted the project overview saying NAVCDP is a natural successor to both the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) that ends on 30th next month and National Agriculture and Rural Inclusion Growth Project (NARIGP) ending on 30th this month.
NARIGP, he said focused on increased productivity and profitability of the target small holder communities while KCSAP focused on increased productivity and building resilience to climate change risks in the target project areas.
He further outlined the five components of the project that include: Building Producer capacity for climate resilient stronger value chains; climate smart value chain ecosystem investments; piloting climate smart safer urban food Systems; Project coordination and management; and contingent emergency response component.
The County Digital Agricultural Officer, Mr. Kevin Kanyuira said Kisumu County selected five value chains to focus on under the new project. These are chicken, Dairy, tomatoes, Cotton and rice. The digital agricultural plans, he said will help address the challenges farmers face like agricultural productivity, market linkages, financial inclusion, digital analytics and agricultural intelligence.
According to the County Community Institution Development Officer, Dr. Anne Olang’o, the Participatory Integrated Community Development process is a tool which invokes community conversation to realize their problems, identify alternatives or solutions and plan on how to tackle their problems. Everyone who has a stake in the intervention; has a voice either in person or by representation
Its significance she said carries with it feelings of ownership, ensures credibility of the intervention, brings a broader range of people to the planning process, involves important players from the outset, provides an opportunity for community members to be heard, builds trust teaches skills that last far beyond the planning process Reflects the mission and goals of the organization.
County Environmental Safeguards Compliance Officer, Susan Omwa in her presentation explained the need to do farmer profiling and mapping saying it helps to generate a comprehensive, shared, geo-referenced, updatable database with relevant information on target beneficiaries to support data driven-agricultural interventions
The data to be collected she said include: geographic location, information about each farmer, primary farm ownership, farming business crop agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, farm equipment and property land and water management financials and services.
The CECM for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Kenn Onyango, while officially closing the session noted that KCSAP only operated in six Wards which he considered not impactful. This time round the NAVCDP he said will be implemented in all the 35 Wards.
He said that as the program kicks off with sensitization of leaders both at National and County Governments, he is optimistic that there will be a paradigm shift on what is done. He called for an equivocal support so that it is gotten it right at the onset.
The CECM reiterates how for a long-time people have practiced subsistence farming, donor engagement in tokenism hence no sustainability once the donor fund ends. Instead, the government is coming up with the SACCO approach in all wards that he terms instrumental in ensuring the programme succeeds.
“There will be multi- value chain SACCOs well structured, governed and will engage people with integrity to start with farmers from production to value addition, and aggregation.” he said.
On Profiling and mapping of farmers Hon. Onyango lauded the process saying it would give a comparative advantage to sub counties for crop diversification.
The CECM called on the leaders and the stakeholders to cascade the message to the grassroots for clear understanding of what the project is intended to achieve.