AGRA/CGA Partner to Advance Regenerative Agriculture in Kenya ahead of the Oct-Dec 2023 Rains
Jane Njoka, Regional Sales Rep at Wondergro showcase WonderGro is a new product which has been designed to improve soil health and improve the efficiency of fertilizer use. WonderGro helps farmers to restore the fertility of soils which have been depleted and have become acidic through over-use of inorganic fertilizers.
AGRA in partnership with the Cereal Growers Association (CGA) convened a pre-planning preparation forum with key stakeholders to reinforce regenerative agriculture practices in Makueni and Kitui counties.
Through the Strengthening Regenerative Agriculture in Kenya (STRAK) Project, funded by the IKEA Foundation, the partnership is entering its second phase following a successful initial phase in 2020/2021.
The project’s core objective is to assist smallholder farmers in diversifying their crops, exploring new income sources, and adopting regenerative farming techniques to enhance soil health.
In attendance was County Executive Commissioner for Agriculture in Kitui County Dr. Stephen Kimwele, who stressed the importance of public private partnership.
“It’s vital to consider agricultural produce markets and foster collaboration among Government, County Government, NGOs, and the Private Sector,” said Dr. Kimwele.
The forum, preceding the anticipated October to December rains, brought together implementing partners of STRAK and representatives from various sectors of the agricultural value chain in the lower Eastern region.
With the aim of reaching 100,000 farmers, the forum seeks to foster sustainable development in food and farming systems through innovative and regenerative models tailored to specific contexts. It also emphasized climate resilience and food security while providing comprehensive support to farmers across the entire value chain.
Speaking at the forum, AGRA’s STRAK Project Program Officer Dr. Abednego Kiwia reaffirmed that the project seeks to encourage adoption of regenerative agriculture while increasing outputs for farmers in the region.
“The STRAK Project seeks to increase the productivity of farms, advocate for adoption of agricultural policies in county governments, and to promote resilience through home gardens, water conservation, poultry keeping and agroforestry. Through our implementing partners, the Project will see an increase in maize output in farms of the lower Eastern region in Kenya from 1.8 metric tons per hectare to 6 tons per hectare,” said Dr. Kiwia.
Farmers are poised to gain a wealth of knowledge on Regenerative Agriculture, spanning a wide spectrum from seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals to effective storage methods. AGRA’s commitment lies in bridging the gap between suppliers and farmers, ensuring that agricultural products, brands, and the knowledge and skills needed to utilize them are readily accessible to farmers.
Also present, CGA Regenerative Agriculture Project Manager, George Mabuka, said “Over 300 trained Village Based Advisors (VBAs) are now deployed, addressing the gap left by the limited number of Agricultural Officers on the ground. We focus on drought-resistant seeds, offer extension services, and training to boost food production, including Home Gardens targeting malnutrition and circular business models for sustainability,” said Mabuka.
Presentations covered a wide array of topics, including fertilizers, soil conditioners, seeds, crop protection, agro-chemicals, storage methods, and service provision.
Looking ahead, the partners agreed to support farmers with technology and machinery like augurs and rippers, that improve soil health and diverse crops that increase productivity ahead of the rains.