This is a photo series from my recent trip to Central and Eastern Kenya, where I visited mango farmers who benefit from the YieldWise Initiative, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. The goal of Yieldwise is to reduce post-harvest losses by 50%. Farmers are encouraged to work in groups to increase their bargaining power, access to markets, and use of new technologies to increase the shelf life of their produce. These photos showcase the power of the farmers’ collective action.

With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, these farmers have established diverse agricultural enterprises that showcase the vast possibilities in agriculture. Access to affordable technologies powered by renewable energy has unlocked economic opportunity for the farmers. These photos also show the rising inclusion of women and young people, and their active participation in agricultural enterprises. Most importantly, the farmers attest to a reduction of post-harvest losses due to the various interventions by The Rockefeller Foundation.

Kambiti

Mangoes from Ukambani in Eastern Kenya are said to be sweetest. Kambiti East Mango Farmers’ cooperative are extending the sweetness beyond the mango season by processing mangoes into chips, crisps and flour. They also use the same equipment to process bananas, pineapples and pumpkin into flours that are highly nutritious. The group has opened an outlet kiosk in Kambiti to sell their products. With revenues from the kiosk they can meet their monthly operational costs, which include the cost of employing one member of their community.

  • Women are of vital importance in rural economies. Lucy Wacheke is the Vice Chair of Kambiti Farmers Group. Their group also includes a youth representative to ensure they can attract more youth into their group. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Grace Wanjiku of Kambiti Farmers group inspects the process of mango drying in their drying facility that is powered by solar energy. Access to renewable energy enables rural communities to participate in economic activity without being reliant on expensive infrastructure. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Kambiti Farmers Group opened the “Mambo Mapya” or the “New things store” Kambiti to sell their products. With revenues from the kiosk they can meet their monthly operational costs, and demonstrate here potential for added value to other farmers. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Nutritious products processed by the Kambiti Farmers Group that are sold at their kiosk. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International

Chaaria

Chaaria Farmers’ Group has been certified to export their mangoes. This enables them to sell the fruit at a higher price and to a reliable and consistent market. They also have a fruit processing facility, as well as a charcoal cooler that preserves fresh fruits for up to 14 days.

  • Leaders of the Chaaria Farmers group sharing their vision on their agribusiness enterprise. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Chaaria Farmers Group have an agro shop, which enables them to purchase inputs in bulk. Members can get access to the inputs on credit, and farmers then pay following the harvest time. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Keeping it cool – The charcoal cooler is an affordable cooling solution for rural areas and they are able to preserve fresh fruits for up to 14 days reducing post-harvest losses. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International

Kiamuri

One kilo of mangoes costs $0.20, but when it is processed to dried fruits, the retail price increases to $8. Kiamuri Farmers’ Group aspires to capture this value by opening a processing facility. In the meantime, they are bulking their cereals and selling to traders at a higher price, benefitting from the large quantities and group negotiation.

  • Kiamuri Farmers group located in Meru that is a high-productivity zone. However due to poor accessibility they have been largely dependent on brokers. They are now working with TechnoServe connecting to several markets, so that they may negotiate better prices. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Members of Kiamuri Farmers group participate in a training on post-harvest loss management. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Kiamuri farmers group cereal store where the group aggregates produce, and benefits from selling large volumes that increase their bargaining power. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International

Karocho

Karocho Farmers’ Group have a ‘tales of the antagonist’ type relationship with brokers, with the never-ending battles for fair prices. Still, the brokers remain their connection to elusive markets. To even out their income, the farmers have invested in a mobile millet thresher to relieve the drudgery of manual threshing.

  • Karocho farmers group agree that the representation of women in the farmers group brings onboard different skills. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Members of Karocho farmers group showcase the services of the thresher to potential customers. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International

Masii

This region is well known for mangoes, which when in season leads to prices as low as $0.06 per kilo. Masii farmers’ groups use their charcoal cooler and evaporative cooler to store their fruits longer to take advantage of higher prices later as supply decreases. The charcoal cooler enables them to store their fruit for up to 14 days. To generate income for their group, they have a brick-making machine that they lease to other community members.

  • Member of Masii farmers group participating in a group training. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • To generate income for their group, they have a brick-making machine that they lease to other community members. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • The evaporative cooler in the background is an affordable technology for cooling of produce to increase the shelf life of fresh produce. Construction is from locally available material making affordable as an on-farm cooling solution for farmers. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • The charcoal cooler and evaporative cooler are appropriate technologies for cooling in rural areas. They are inexpensive, easy to construct and can keep fruits such as mangoes for up to 14 days. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International

Karurumo

Finally, the elusive young farmers! Karurumo Group have a fruit processing facility and can process juice, jam and yoghurt. They also have cold storage to store 10TN of produce, making them attractive to bulk buyers paying a premium. The youthful team are passionate about farming, but are also an example of how farmers can take control of the entire value chain.

  • Karurumo group have been intentional on including the youth in their business enterprise. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • The Karurumo processing plant has capacity to process fruits for juice, powder increasing the value derived from the products. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International
  • Young farmers leading the process has inspired generations to learn of different career options and opportunities available in agriculture. Photo Credit: Nelson Munene – Farm Concern International

These are the stories of farmer groups that whose enterprises are beginning to thrive and we honor the farmers who are demonstrating that there is power in collective organization, showcasing affordable technologies have the power to transform economies and there are several cool opportunities for the youth to engage in along the entire agriculture value chain.

 

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