Farmers learn about different kinds of mulches.
Photo slideshow of this project.
Agricultural Technology Transfer in Kenya; A New Approach to Training and Engagement
Target Country: Kenya
Principal Investigator: Steve Fennimore, University of California, Davis
- Jeff Mitchell, University of California, Davis
- Peter Mutua, South Eastern University College, Kenya
Leadership development is key to sustained improvements in agricultural production in developing countries particularly in the rural areas. However, the rural poor cannot, in isolation develop complete solutions to deal with the production, market access and technology challenges they face. Because this group of people are unaccustomed to having their views heard and acted on, this program proposes a way in which urban professionals who are concerned about rural development and food production can use their networks and expertise to develop technical and management capacity among rural farmers in order to generate entrepreneurial solutions to crippling food shortages. The program targets educated urban dwellers with close rural ties and seeks to create intellectual curiosity about this constant struggle with food insecurity. Whereas there is mutual respect as required by local customs, contact between these groups has previously been superficial i.e. limited to family occasions like weddings and funerals. It seeks to engage those who are motivated to participate in developing a solution to this problem to form networks of likeminded professionals to engage rural farmers and come up with workable solutions.
To encourage stakeholder ownership, it is important that a shift to horticultural crop production – which is one method of increasing incomes and improving nutrition in arid and semi arid areas – be proposed by the farmers on the ground rather than the program operators. The program will seek to identify other constraints that may not be so obvious and deal with all issues identified in a systematic manner that ensures that local farmers are satisfied that their views are valuable. Farmers in rural Kenya will then take ownership of any proposals that result from these partnerships.