I grew up in a small farm in eastern Kenya. My family planted various crops, hoping to boost our income. On one occasion, an extension agent brought us some seeds in a sophisticated package. I later learnt from my mother that they were watermelon seeds.

“Plant these; they will make you rich,” the extension agent said. But when the harvest was ready and we reached out to the agent, he told us there was no market. We also could not sell the watermelon in the village – this was a new fruit and many had not acquired its taste.

Watermelon became our breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a delicacy for our livestock.

As we began implementing the YieldWise Initiative, the watermelon experience continued to reverberate. It reminded me that farmers lose their harvest for many reasons: lack of markets, inadequate storage, transportation or available processing equipment, and limited access to financing, among others.

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