Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wangwachi field day: Leveraging on tomato value addition

By Bob Aston
An opportunity worth attending takes place at Peter Chege’s farm in Wangwachi area of Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia West Sub County on November 12, 2015. Agrifood actors will gather in the area for a field day that will look at how to enhance farmer production skills, and deliberate how farmers can play an active role in the tomato value chain.
The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MOALF), and Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society are organizing the field day to enable farmers to share their experiences and interact with various value chain actors.
The field day will enable farmers to learn good agronomics practices, value addition, production practices, agribusiness, soil management, marketing, integrated pests and disease management, value addition, Farm Records Management Information System(FARMIS), SOKO+ sms platform and harvesting and post-harvest management.
Farmers packing tomatoes
The field day will provide farmers with a platform to interact with agricultural sector stakeholders and expose them to new technologies and ideas. 
Farmers will also be able to learn how to add value to tomato by making tomato jam, juice and tomato sauce. Value addition of smallholder farmer’s tomatoes is essential in increasing their productivity, quality, and earnings.
Wangwachi, Marura, Ol-Mutuny, Ndaragwiti, Monica, and Karungubii are main tomato producing areas in the ward due to availability of dams in the areas. Ol-Moran ward produces close to 100 tonnes of tomato per season with around 40 acres under tomato cultivation.  
However, farmers rarely get an opportunity to interact, share best practices, and address challenges that they face.  ALIN and partners are keen in addressing constraints during production, marketing, processing, and consumption of tomato.
ALIN has been involved in improving communities’ access to knowledge and skills for quite some time, using platforms like field days. These experiences have helped farmers to access knowledge and information, which have helped to empower many farmers in arid areas.
On behalf of ALIN, we would like to welcome members of the public to the farmer’s field day, at Peter Chege’s “Baba Kimani” farm in Wangwachi on November 12, 2015 from 10:00 am.
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