Private sector linkages expand business opportunities for farmers in Embu County

Carolyne Gakii Mwaniki is a village-based advisor (VBA) from Gurika village in Kiriga location, Kagaari South Ward of Embu County. She is also one of 153 village-based advisors (VBA) in the AGRA-funded Regenerative Agriculture Project implemented by Farm Africa providing extension support for farmers.  

The project strategy focuses on addressing food security at County level through the sustainable presence of community-led extension services that enhance the capacities of VBAs to income from their work while promoting good agricultural practices among the farmers they serve. 

Regenerative agriculture involves farming practices that rejuvenate soil health.  The project encourages an inter-cropping system of maize and high-yielding nitrogen fixing beans in addition to crop rotation and agroforestry.

Facilitated by Farm Africa, Carolyne has entered into an agreement with Faida Seed Company and Pioneer Seeds to supply farmers in her area at discounted prices, and has since been recognized as a brand ambassador for Faida Seeds in Embu County. She receives a commission of Ksh 100 from every sale of the 2 Kg packet of seed maize.  

The mother of two is also a member of the 20-member Ngurikoma self-help group comprising 18 women and two men. The group is involved in the value addition of cassava, banana and milk as well as asset building for its members.

Although Carolyne’s farm comprises half an acre, she has established demonstration plots to compare the effects of manure, fertilizer, mulching and non-mulching on crop growth.  The demonstration sites serve as training grounds for the 82 farmers she has reached with regenerative technologies.  

She also earns an income from milling cassava and selling it at Ksh 150.- per Kg, making a profit of Ksh 70.- “When the demand is high, I can sell more than 30 Kgs of milled cassava flour at a time,” she said.  

To complement her other income streams, Carolyne also rears chickens and sells off the chicks when they are two months old. “I recently sold 200 chicks at Ksh 300 each,” she explains. The enterprise earned her Ksh 60,000. -As a local aggregator for cereals, Carolyne has 20 bags of maize in her store.  However, she is concerned about storage space and market volatility.  “I have had to reduce my purchases as I still don’t have a ready market,” she explains.  But she also runs a tree nursery with more than 1,000 Gliricidia sepium seedlings – a popular tree among farmers for timber, firewood, fencing, soil stabilization and green manure.

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