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Seed production

Farm Africa is supporting the production of drought-tolerant crop seeds, which will benefit around 5,000 resource-poor subsistence farmers in Kitui County, western Kenya. 

Fighting food insecurity

Kitui is one of the most food insecure regions of Kenya, with more than 60% of the population relying on food aid. Poverty levels are amongst the highest in Kenya, and are still rising, despite falls in many other areas in the country. Many families rely on rain-fed agriculture than is highly vulnerable to drought.

To address these problems, Farm Africa is working with 480 smallholder farmers to produce certified seeds for drought-tolerant crops, which means bigger incomes for seed producers and bigger harvests and incomes for farmers.

Community-based production

Farmers are encouraged to work collectively in producer groups, which helps them increase production volumes and profit through joint marketing. Agronomy training is provided to improve crop production and post-harvest handling, and business training is given to enable farmers to access commercial markets at competitive prices. 

An innovative seed production model

Improved drought-tolerant crop varieties such as sorghum, green grams, pigeon peas, and cowpeas have proven to be successful in water-scarce conditions. However, these varieties have not been widely adopted by many small-scale farmers, due to unavailability in rural areas, price, and caution; many farmers are reluctant to invest without seeing the benefits first-hand.

Farm Africa has adopted a community-based seed system model that provides technical support to farmers producing quality seeds. The seeds are fully inspected by government agencies, and then made available to other farmers through established agro-dealer networks. This also helps farmers to build long-lasting links with the private sector.

Success through partnerships

Farm Africa signed a memorandum of understanding with FreshCo Seeds, which provides high quality parental seed to farmers and then buys back the multiplied seeds. Under this agreement, the farmers are registered as official seed producers with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and have their crops inspected and certified.