"Now, I can sell the goat milk and feed my children with decent food", says Lucy Wairimu, farmer in Kisumu, Kenya.
Development of agriculture in Kenya
The development in agriculture is central to Kenya and supplies about 80 per cent of the rural population. Moreover, it stands for about 60 per cent of export earnings, primarily from tea, coffee, fresh fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. To increase growth and reduce poverty, agriculture must be renewed and become more productive. This is one of the Kenyan government's priorities and therefore, Sida has helped to develop NALEP; National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme.
NALEP currently covers the whole nation and reaches 500, 000 small farmers. The idea is that farmers with mutual interests form groups and then ask for support and aid themselves, for example, regarding the best methods for different forms of agriculture and livestock rearing. Small-scale farmers are thereby enabled to become more efficient and get better returns on their products. Former agricultural programmes in Kenya have been based on someone coming out and telling farmers what and how things should be done. Neither the farmers' own dedication, their willingness to change and learn has been utilized, nor have the measures been built on two-way communication.
The programme is being implemented by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture and other related ministries.
Sida is supporting the project with SEK 327, 000 during the period 2006 – 2012. The support is about half of the total cost of the project.
- The farmers have doubled their production and their earnings in two years, e.g., through growing more crops and commercial sales. Also, the households have better access to food.
- 400 communities have requested guidance based on their own priorities.
- Dairy farmers have increased the usage of new production methods and techniques by 5% and poultry farmers by 20%.
- Collaboration with private sector actors and service suppliers has increased, which has resulted in more efficient delivery of the products.
- The statistics for the programme have been broken down by gender to enable follow-up of the results for both women and men.
- Contingency plans to forestall the risk of drought in vulnerable areas have been established. For example, methods for growing crops and rearing cattle with alternative water resources have been developed.
- Over 7, 000 advisers have been trained in giving advice to farmers who support themselves by farming. 25% of these advisers were female, and 70% of all advisers have gone through equality training.
- Access to financial services (savings schemes and credit) has increased in rural areas, and 50% of those using the services were women.
- The farmers have started using new technical solutions such as energy saving stoves which entails less pollution and saves labour time, especially for women.
- The marketing of loans and savings schemes has increased farmers' borrowing. Over 60 per cent of borrowers and savers are women.
- Women's participation at 30 per cent in all programme activities is a result of new guidelines for gender equality.