By Bett Kipsang’
Market access is a crucial component for the success of any agribusiness venture. Not only do farmers need markets but, good ones, to enable them get a return on their investments. Achieving this objective is both a challenge and opportunity, and many initiatives have been put in place to achieve the noble course.
|Farmers sort Maize before storage|
In Kinamba, Laikipia West District, a group called Ng’arua Cereals and Produce Self Help Group, has come up with a smooth way of ensuring that members control the value chain for their cereals.
They jointly access inputs and food stock during famine and market without much hustle. The group was started with a sole aim of offering storage services to members, it receives and store maize annually until prices improves and also provide loans to farmers using cereal stocks as security.
To start the process, requires building a store. Initially, members of Ng’arua Cereals and Produce SHG contributed their own maize to raise share capital. The day to day activities of the store are managed by elected officials who ensure that quality control measures are adhered to before the grains are accepted in the store.
When Ng’arua Maarifa Center visited the Kinamba store, some farmers where busy sorting their maize to remove the bad ones before they are admitted.
Close to one thousand four hundred bags of maize are now in the store and more are still trickling in. ‘‘The process has continually won the confidence of local farmers, as it is easy for them to access loan facilities without being harassed during repayment’’, said Sophia Matevu, a store worker.
Farmers do not struggle to access fertilizer and seeds since the group source for them on their behalf so that they can repay after harvest.
There are however minor challenges, due to some members breaking their on rules and demanding to be let free.