Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Strengthening environmental resilience and social inclusion in Maize production

By Bob Aston
The Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP)-Laikipia, held a Maize Value Chain Platform workshop on December 9, 2015 at Olympia Hotel in Nyahururu to sensitize the members about the second concept note titled:” Promotion of environmentally resilient and socially inclusive maize production, post harvesting and marketing through Strengthening of Institutions in Laikipia County.”
The concept note that is being implemented during the 2015-2016 financial year aims to lay more emphasis on promoting environmental resilience for value chain actors including vulnerable groups as well as creating awareness, knowledge and appreciation of natural resources management and climate change are important aspects in ensuring a food secure country.
Farmers admiring maize in a maize field
Mr. Bob Aston from Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) noted that the main objective of the concept note include: Increasing adoption of climate smart production technologies through use of adaptable seeds, soil fertility analysis and integrated pest management; improving maize marketing organization and linkages; increasing accessibility to investment capital; and increasing accessibility to market information.
He said that maize value chain platform in Laikipia County ranked post-harvest loss, poor quality, and high cost of input, low soil fertility, limited access to information, low adoption of appropriate technology and limited accessibility to financial services among others as a priority constraint and thus the development of the concept note.
“Various constraints identified in the Maize Action plan, ASDSP county brochure, maize baseline survey, gender and social inclusion action plan and strategic environmental assessment report played a huge role in coming up with the concept note,” said Mr. Aston.
He said that the concept note also aims to address weak market organization and linkages through business forums between private sector actors, agro producers, agro wholesalers, and agro retailers.
Another important aspect in the concept note is linking women with financial institutions for advice on existing grants and credit facilities.
He said that selected youth groups would benefit through training on existing market platforms for proper integration in the value chain. Maize Value chain groups will benefit through training on development of business plans, entrepreneurship, stakeholders engagement, market linkages, and market specification.
He said that expected beneficiaries are 28 agro-producer groups, 6 agro wholesalers, 1 youth agro-transporter group, 5 agro-input suppliers, and 15 agro-retailers.
Partners and collaborators like ASDSP, Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), ALIN, Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, African Conservation Tillage (ACT) Network, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations-Laikipia, Equity Bank, Laikipia Maize Value Chain Development Network among others are overseeing implementation of the concept note.

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