Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sokopepe helped me get a buyer!

By Bett Kipsang'

Mr. Peter Maina Mwaniki,a farmer in Sipili division Laikipia County has a reason to smile after Sokopepe enabled him sell his Lima beans at a higher profit. 

 Mr. Mwaniki, a retired teacher is an energetic farmer who is always enthusiastic to learn new skills; his desire for new knowledge led him to use Ng’arua Maarifa Centre which champions a market portal called Sokopepe- an online and SMS based platforms that provide market prices information to farmers and links farmers with buyers.
Peter Mwaniki harvesting Lima Beans

 ‘Last year I decided to do a market research on Lima beans, I checked at a local market selling price per kilogram and it was selling at KES 60 (USD 0.7) which I felt was very low compared to the expenses I incurred during farming. I traveled 60km away to Nyahururu to check the selling price and I found out the price per kilogram was KES 80(USD 0.9). I remembered Sokopepe and decided to visit Ngarua Maarifa centre where I took sample of Lima beans so that a photo could be taken for uploading on the Sokopepe marketing portal.   I send an SMS TO 20245 and checked for prices of Lima beans in Nairobi and saw it was selling at KES 150 (USD 1.8) per kilogram. With the support of the field officer at Ngarua Maarifa centre the produce was uploaded with a price tag of KES 150(USD 1.8) per kilogram.A buyer from Nairobi visited the Sokopepe site and spotted the product displayed for sale and placed an order for 5kgs of Lima beans. The produce was delivered to the buyer and I was paid KES 150 (USD 1.8) per kilogram up from the KES60(USD 0.7)per kilogram offered at the local market. After three weeks again a buyer from Mombasa placed another order, the produce was delivered and I was paid. I have never been to Mombasa but my Lima beans have! The use of mobile phones to get market prices is a blessing to us as farmers. I am now able to query market prices in major towns at the comfort of my home using my mobile phone, ’says Mr. Mwaniki.

Farmers are facing a lot of challenges in marketing of their produce.They have always been exploited by middle men who buy their produce at very low prices since the farmers have no access to market prices.However with the introduction of Sokopepe, farmers can query prices in major towns in Kenya and make an informed decision on where to sell and at what price thus have a bargaining power. Additionally Sokopepe provides other services like access to input suppliers, extension services and a pool of information on both crop farming and livestock.

Mwaniki has seven acres of land; he cultivates only four acres. He also has a fruits orchard next to his home. He does poultry rearing, dairy farming and growing of maize and other cereals crops like grain Amaranth, Lima Beans and Dolichos.   He is a member of Ng’arua focal group, where he has received lots of information and capacity building on farming.Mr.  Mwaniki is also a member of two farmer groups; Umoja Wendani and Gazina self-help groups. In these groups, Mr. Mwaniki has encouraged members to register on Sokopepe and use its services since he has seen the benefits.

Mr. Mwaniki can be reached at +254725152750

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Demo gardens enhance farm practices

By Bett Kipsang'
Demo Garden near Sipili
 Introduction of a high yielding maize variety “Pioneer 30G19’’ will boost food security and agribusiness in Laikipia west. The seed produced by Pioneer Hi-bred, a Kenyan registered company, promoting production of white maize.

The company has employed very elaborate and practical methods of training farmers in best agronomic practices from land preparations to harvesting and post harvest management. 

‘‘To educate our farmers, we established several demo gardens in strategic areas within Sipili division’’ Said John Ndegwa, who works with the company. He said that the company provided farmers with seeds to plant and instructed them on the best methods of management. The method was found to be very effective, farmers are able to see the difference between the crops planted in “usual” style and those planted following the right procedures. 

  Pioneer 30G19, variety takes between five and six months to mature and the potential yield per acre are 50 bags on average.

  According to Ndegwa, poor farm management practices are to blame for poor yields, farmers mostly compromise the standard spacing, crop population in the farm and inter cropping which leads to unfair competitions for light and nutrients. 

Wajoram Displays a maize cob picked  from the Garden
Most farmers also do not know the soil requirement for their farms, and they tend to plant very large portions of land without following good procedure, a factor john attributed to poor yields and eventual losses.

Lack of soil knowledge has also led to continuous use of the wrong fertilizer every year. Ndegwa observed that soil samples from every farm needs to be tested to determine the kind of fertilizer and amount to be used. The required spacing for maize is (75 x25cm).

John Ndegwa Pioneer staff
  Pioneer 30G19 does well in medium to high altitudes between 1,000 to 1,800 meters’ above sea level. The company has organized field days at the demo gardens to show farmers the difference in yield and hence change the attitude of farmers after witnessing the starling performance of the maize variety. 

The crop has a good standing ability and is not very tall, hence cannot be fell down by the wind. This variety is also drought tolerant, resistant to many maize diseases and has good quality grains.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...