4-PILLAR GIVE BACK is a project tailored towards improving the state of agripreneurship, incorporating community engagements and promoting social responsibility in the vegetable value chain in Nakuru villages. This project was started by four masters’ students from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda supported by MasterCard@RUFORUM through TAGDev program at Egerton University.
The ideology and conceptualization of this project are based on the 4 pillars of Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev) project. The project started with problem identification, which involved community mobilization for further understanding of the community problems. The problems identified majorly centered on low food production among the rural farmers attributed to limited access to quality inputs, research institutions and their innovations, expertise to good agricultural practices and market. The farmers were also not aware of their soil status and rarely had access to soil test laboratories. This was majorly achieved with the help of Nyumba Kumi, leader of Mwigito village, Mr. Bernard Gachanjo. We (4pillar Give Back) students decided to contribute part of our stipend towards the noble cause of a food secure and transformative community.
The vision of the 4-PILLAR GIVE BACK is to catalyze rapid, broad-based growth in the vegetable value chain through coordinating efficient set of interventions for better yields, quality and higher value realized by smallholder farmers beyond the boundaries of East Africa.
To achieve this vision, 4-PILLAR GIVE BACK has two main objectives:
|Improve Productivity||– Facilitating trainings on good agricultural practices (GAP) |
– Catalogue the suitability of the existing assets, mobilizing resources and initiating any necessary further research
– Strengthening existing aggregation points, specifically input dealers and crop markets
|Enhance Partnerships||-Catalogue existing and future human resource requirements for the farmers (e.g. research, consultants, marketing, extension) |
-Facilitate training and capacity building of the farmers
To mitigate the increasing food demand pressure, the project seeks to restore productivity of vegetable through providing technical support among the Four Farmer Groups in Njoro. The project also aims to double the farmers’ yields particularly in tomatoes, carrots, pepper, amaranth, spinach, spider plant and black nightshade vegetables. The project started with 24 farmers who had adopted the appropriate techniques such as greenhouse production, crop rotation, use of biochar as soil amendment and minimum tillage among others.
The project adopted the participatory approach that operates on communal farms and concurrently offer support such as inputs to the project beneficiaries based on agreement. The farmers are engaged throughout the value chain, from input provision to marketing. The project focuses on “Seed Farmers” who are trained to produce high quality seedlings and vegetables at reduced costs. It encourages the production of seedlings using high quality and cheap soilless media like biochar and peat moss rationing. The farmers act as seed bankers not only to produce vegetables for the local markets, but also to produce high quality seedlings for marketing to other farmers. This promotes an entrepreneurial aspect to the community thus improving livelihoods and contributing towards a food secure economy.
The Seed Farmers also act as Trainers of Trainees (TOTs), who are specifically trained on seeds and seedlings production following the principles of GAP and climate smart practices. This therefore promotes research with the farming communities and provides a smooth way for knowledge dissemination. This has united the farmers to fight hunger and solicite resources to improve their livelihoods as one large community.