Promotion of organic vegetable agribusiness through a training centre of excellence for enhancement of rural employment in Kenya
Effective IPM Association (EIPMA), Kenya, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, Kenya
Organic vegetable production has a low carbon footprint and is ecologically friendly. Vegetables produced organically fetch premium farm gate prices per kilogram ranging from 28% to 71% for different types. Regional demand for organic products is rising, but Kenya lags in organic farming with merely 37,000 registered producers. The number is lower compared to the neighbouring countries’ statistics i.e., 210,000 (Uganda), 204,000 (Ethiopia), and 149,000 (Tanzania). Large-scale organic farmers in Kenya have contractual agreements with private exporting companies and get certification using international organic standards e.g., Bio Suisse. However, most smallholder vegetable farmers remain in conventional farming because of the costs associated with certification. The problem calls for a panacea to revolutionize smallholder vegetable production from conventional to organic enterprises and provide links to local and regional markets. We propose a project called Enhancement of Rural Employment Through Organic Vegetables (ERETOV). The project shall mainly promote the production of the most demanded organic vegetables in the main markets of Nairobi and the East Africa region. The project shall start by improving an existing training facility at the Africa IPM Association (EIPMA) to serve as a training centre of excellence in organic farming. Capacity-building among smallholder vegetable farmers will be conducted at the proposed centre. We shall organise farmers into producer groups through participatory guarantee systems (PGS) that will be supported by the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN). Through PGS, KOAN will link farmers to the local and regional markets. The project will increase opportunities for rural employment creation through the development of future agribusiness entrepreneurs. For project sustainability, the implementing organisation (EIPMA) will have a licensed nursery of organically propagated vegetables where farmers can access their seedlings after the end of the ERETOV period.
Keywords: Center of excellence, organic farming, rural employment, vegetables
Contact Address: Philip Kamau, Effective IPM Association (EIPMA), Kenya, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, Kisumu, Kenya