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Sorghum and green grams

Agneta Mbithe, 25, tends to Sorghum crops in Kivumbuni, Kitui county Agneta Mbithe, 25, tends to Sorghum crops in Kivumbuni, Kitui county
The Kitui district forms part of Kenya's arid and semi-arid lands. While poverty levels across most of the country have been falling, in Kitui they are on the rise.

We're working with farming families in Kitui to build their long-term financial resilience to the impact of increasingly frequent droughts. This project is supporting farmers to grow drought-tolerant sorghum and green gram crops that are in demand in these areas. We are also training farmers in post-harvest handling techniques, water management and teaching them business skills so that they can improve their incomes.

The Kenyan Government and private sector are increasingly interested in dryland crops. Arid conditions make the crops a reliable source of nutrition and income, and the private sector is interested in sourcing these crops locally to reduce the expensive overheads associated with importation.

Strengthening the seed system

Because of the difficult growing conditions, it is critical that farmers can access sorghum and green gram seed varieties with higher yields and shorter maturation times. Farm Africa helps farmers obtain these varieties which not only have a huge impact on production rates but are in high demand locally.

Group production and marketing

The farmers involved in the project are encouraged to work collectively in farmers’ groups, which enables them to increase production volumes more easily and profit through joint marketing.

Each farmers' group selects a ‘champion farmer’ who receives and shares training in improved farming techniques. The multiplier effect of this approach means that ultimately 7,000 farming households will be reached.

Furthermore, by bringing the group together into larger networks, they can sell bulk quantities of crops that are attractive to traders. Farm Africa has also supported the establishment of household-level and community-based storage systems that reduce the imperative for farmers to sell at the farm gate and give them a better negotiating position.

Who are we helping?

We're working with 7,000 farming households in Kitui. By increasing production and improving marketing, we aim to increase household incomes by at least 20%, and build business skills that will be sustainable into the future. 

Who are we working with?

This project is funded by the European Union, the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission and the FAO. To find out more about EuropeAid, click here.