The Meru Irrigation Acceleration Platform has been hosted by Caritas Meru in 2017. However, since 2018, the platform is hosted by Kaguru Agriculture Training Center and is co-hosted by Caritas Meru. This is largely owing to the fact that Kaguru ATC being the host of the County Agriculture Stakeholder Forum would enable the IAP to continue beyond the SWA project. Moreover, Kaguru ATC is a “Smart Center” for the SWA project, enabling them to demonstrate the latest smart water solutions to all stakeholders in irrigated agriculture in the County.
The Meru IAP steering committee comprises of representatives from the County Agriculture and irrigation departments, farmers and private sector companies involved in the irrigated agriculture sector in the County. Since its inception, the platform has added over 150 members and has reached over 8000 farmers through various outreach activities.
Farmer Exchange Visits: Meru IAP supported a total of 28 model farmers from various clusters in the County for an exchange visit to Kisima farm and Kaguru ATC to learn about irrigation technologies, certified seeds and good agricultural practices.
During the exchange visit, farmers were able to see the functioning of solar pumps, Mzuzu drilling technology, sunken pans, green house technologies etc., and could interact with companies providing the different solutions. Farmers were also trained on locally improvised drip kits, dam liners/water pan and good irrigation practices.
The farmers also managed to interact with 500 other farmers who had come for the Kaguru Field Day, exchanging ideas on good agriculture and irrigation practices.
About 50 farmers were taken to a lead farmer in Ngushishi WRUA. The farmers were trained on the use of rota sprayer/mini pivot, solar pump, drip kits, compost manure preparation, jab planter and green house technologies during this visit.
SACCO sensitization forum: KUSCCO (Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Ltd) is an umbrella body for SACCOs in Kenya, providing financial and technical assistance to SACCOs and other cooperatives, tailored to largely benefit the middle and low income earners both in Kenya’s rural and urban areas. KUSCCO is one of the business cases under SWA Investment Fund and has launched the Smart Water for Agriculture loan product through the partnership. The loan product enables members of SACCOs to borrow against their shares (on referral by their SACCOs) for purchasing irrigation equipment (largely solar pumps and drip kits). Meru SACCO’s were sensitized on the Smart Water for Agriculture Loan product through the support of the Meru IAP.