The University of Eldoret (UoE)’s Outreach and International Students’ Centre (OISC) is hosting the Uasin Gishu Irrigation Acceleration Platform (IAP). The Outreach Centre’s mission of outreach, business incubation, training, community service and teaching fits with the IAP vision for piloting, testing and scaling smart water solutions in the County.
The UG IAP steering committee comprises of representatives from the County Government – notably Ministry of Agriculture staff, farmers and private sector companies involved in the irrigated agriculture sector in the County. Since its inception, the platform has added over 50 members and has reached over 6000 farmers through various outreach activities.
Since its inception in 2017, Uasin Gishu IAP has undertaken several extension activities across the County to promote Smart Water Solutions (SWS) suitable for the on-farm conditions in the County. A few of the highlighted activities are listed below:
Farmer Field Days: Uasin Gishu IAP had undertaken over 6 field days in the County. Field days are important tools for disseminating information on the latest agricultural technologies to diversified farming communities, policymakers at different levels and service providers (e.g., extension, research, private sector). The field days also help create business linkages between farmer groups and the private sector companies providing smart water solutions. (Images below from field day in Ainabkoi – Participants touring a Davies and Shirtliff high-pressure pump demonstration stand at the Ainapkoi Field Day)
Business linkages facilitated: Uasin Gishu IAP facilitated business linkages between private sector companies providing a host of Smart Water Technologies (including solar irrigation solutions, water storage and application solutions) to farmer groups producing horticulture crops. Sunculture, a solar irrigation pump provider, has been linked to farmer groups in the County through farmer field days and through support of County Agriculture departments. Sunculture had made sales of over 190 pumps in the County and currently has engineers and sales managers stationed in the County. The platform has linked farmers to market off-takers as well as financial service providers. A few companies supported are off-takers such as Vegpro, Mace Foods, Rupa Fruits and Vegetables, Habex Agro; and financial service providers such as Eclog, Equity, and KCB. Through support of the SWA program, the IAP also provided linkages between local irrigation suppliers such as Grekkon and Agri-Irrigation and Boreholes to the smart water technology companies primarily based in Nairobi.
“Youth in Agribusiness” Open Day: The Uasin Gishu Irrigation Acceleration Platform, hosted by the Outreach Centre of the University of Eldoret conducted a “Youth in Agribusiness” Open Day to unlock opportunities for youth in the County to participate in profitable agribusiness ventures around smart water solutions. The Open Day helped link the youth to various successful agribusiness enterprises and Smart Water Solution providers in the County.
The theme of the Open Day was “Promoting Youth Involvement in Innovations and Agri-preneurship”. The event had seen participation of 78 youth representing 39 youth groups from all the 6 Sub-Counties of Uasin Gishu. Companies such as Kenya Highland Seeds, SunCulture, Equity Bank, Rafiki Microfinance, Fine Touch Distributors, etc participated in the open day and provided information on their products and services to the youth.
The event was presided over by the Uasin Gishu County CEC-Agriculture – Mr. Samuel Yego, DVC of UoE (Administration & Finance) – Prof. Wilson K. Ng’etich and Dean, School of Agriculture and Biotechnology, UoE – Prof. Julius Ochuodho.
The SWA program business development advisor Mr. Alphonce Muriu and IAP advisor Ms. Vandana Thottoli, represented SNV, and presented the opportunities to use the Uasin Gishu platform to get business mentorship and coaching from platform members.