KARI-assisted training promotes market opportunities in Kenya
Egerton University and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), in cooperation with ICRISAT-HOPE project partners in Kenya, held a training workshop on “Managing Farmer-owned Enterprises and Group Lending” from 29 to 30 March 2011 for 30 participants, 16 of whom were women.
Participants were from farmer groups, extension, grain processors, research, agro-input dealers and credit agencies involved in the finger millet value chain from Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western provinces of Kenya.
The activity aimed to train farmers and farmer organizations in planning agribusinesses to be able to access finance to support the purchase of surplus finger millet and sorghum. It also served as a forum to establish linkages between financial institutions and farmer organizations to access finances for input supply and marketing.
ICRISAT scientists participating were Mary Mgonja, Franklin Simtowe and Patrick Audi while Sime Mekonnen from the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and Adventina Babu of the Department of Research and Development (DRD), Tanzania also attended the workshop.
In his opening address, Egerton University Director of Research emphasized the importance of the training in enabling farmers to take up farming as a commercial enterprise and in providing them with the basics of how to farm with a business bottomline.
The first three modules of the training covered the general principles and practice of business planning and records, marketing and financing. The fourth module focused on the role of collective action groups in production and marketing, group formation, group governance, dynamics and conflict resolution. It further emphasized on principles and practices of group lending and group dynamics. A number of institutions shared their experiences and presented their products at the workshop.
Through the project, similar training will be conducted in Tanzania and Ethiopia with the hope that a few of the trainees will qualify as trainers to scale out this unique knowledge to more farmers.