Water harvesting and storage for use in Irrigation water provides great opportunities for growth and development in the agriculture sector of Kenya. With only 3 m3 water use/capita/year, Kenya has one of the lowest surface water storage rates in the world for irrigated agriculture and livestock use. (ICRAF 2012). By 2013, only 12% (161,840 ha) of the irrigation potential had been developed (Water Master Plan, 2012).
To realize this huge potential, more investment in Smart Water Solutions (SWS) for agriculture is needed by all agricultural actors, i.e., farmers, the state, and private sector (e.g., SWS inputs & technology providers, market off takers and financial service providers). The Nakuru Irrigation Acceleration Platform (NIAP) hosted at Egerton University and funded by SNV – Kenya (The Netherlands Development Organization) under the Smart Water for Agriculture (SWA) project, was initiated in January 2017 to create a forum (platform) that brings together interested irrigated agricultural value chain (IAVC) actors in Nakuru County. The SWA program supports four other County Irrigation Acceleration platforms in Kenya, Laikipia, Machakos, Meru and Uasin Gishu Counties.
The Goal of Nakuru IAP is to contribute to increased water productivity in agriculture for increased income and food security of small and medium-sized entrepreneurial (SME) farmers
- Facilitate the Nakuru-IAP and building networks
- Support brokering of business deals in irrigated agriculture
- Capacity-build farmers and irrigated agriculture value chain actors in SWA
- Mobilize the private sector support for development of SWA in Nakuru County
- Document business cases for advocacy and scale up of identified SWA innovations
Core IAP Partners
- Nakuru County Government,
- Smart Water Solution (SWS) technology providers
- Financial Service providers (Banks, SACCOS’ and Insurance organizations)
- Commodity Market off-takers
- Small to Medium agri-Enterprise (SME) farmers (1/4 to 12 acres)
- Egerton University – The Nakuru IAP host (i.e., the neutral knowledge institute)
- Farmer Education, field days and on-farm demonstration sites
The project targets to reach more than 6000 farmers through various strategies. The primary methods are to expand and set up demo sites and organize farmer field days within the nine smart water for agriculture clusters established in 2017 and 2018. A minimum of three clusters will each have a demo site, from where farmers will practically learn SWS.
In mid 2017, four clusters, in Gilgil, Njoro, Rongai (Molo river) and Lower Subukia (Lari Wendani) were trained in post-harvest care of fresh produce for meeting market standards. Five field days were held from July – October, 2018. An annual Nakuru farmer’s network day will be held in February/ March 2019 to demonstrate the potential of applied water for crop production during the rainy off-season period. This is the period when farm produce fetches the highest prices. We will partner with the Nakuru County farmers call centre – a digital platform – to promote SWS technologies and thus, reach a wider audience. Print and social media will also be used.
- Facilitate County level Platform meetings
Quarterly platform forums will be held that bring key stakeholders to a roundtable to discuss the future of irrigated agriculture in Nakuru County and Kenya. For sustainability, the Nakuru IAP is testing and refining the event co-funding model, which was piloted during the potato and irrigated cropping systems Farmer Education day held on 22nd June, 2018 at Egerton, where private sector and county government co – financed 50 % of the budget.
- Create Business linkages
Facilitate business to business (B2B) meetings that create at least ten (10) business linkages between various actors; e.g., that enable access to sustainable and reliable markets and finance; enhancing the trade of inputs and farm produces economically and profitably. The IAP is creating awareness of existing farm produce off-take markets, i.e., Frigoken and Twiga foods and supporting the recruitment of more farmers along identified input and off-take value chains.
- Document business cases
The project will document business cases that demonstrate the impact of irrigated agriculture in the County. These cases will be used for training and policy advocacy.
- Support/Build new networks for Youth in Agribusiness
Organize and support youth in agribusiness events that motivate and inspire youth and IAP members to invest in agribusiness of irrigated value chains.
Nakuru IAP members are committed to continue beyond the end of the project cycle in June 2019. We are aware that joint sustainable interaction between farmers and the public-private irrigation service providers will be possible, only when each party’s contribution towards their participation, will be met and driven by evident mutual benefits. Therefore we will continue to participate and support meetings that discuss how to bridge the food deficit currently facing our nation.
Egerton University is positioning its outreach programs so as to increase experiential learning opportunities for both students and staff amongst irrigated value chain actors. With support from SNV-Kenya, it will set up a practical SWS demonstration centre to showcase existing irrigated agriculture technologies for equitable generation of on-farm income. You are welcome to be part of this journey.
- Nakuru Small Holder Farmers’ Association Meeting. Formed in 2015 with the vision of being the voice of small holder farmers in Nakuru County, the association has since engaged in various forums with stakeholders to bring to the fore issues affecting their members.
The objectives of the meeting were to:
1) Develop a draft 3-Year strategic plan for the association
2) Brainstorm on a Climate Smart Agriculture proposal in response to SNV call
For more information: NASFA Meeting Report – 27th March 2019
- Nakuru I.A.P Partners’ Field Day: Nakuru IAP and Seed Potato project partners met at Egerton University and agreed to hold a partners field day on 8th March at Elim Farm, Njoro. Elim farm was selected because it is a medium scale irrigated farm (6 acres) operating on commercial basis. It was easily access and close to Egerton University.
Partners agreed to plant demonstration plots for display and to each contribute KES 10,000 towards the field day. Lachlan Africa planted early maturing cabbages, capsicums and squash. Egerton University seed potato project planted nine (9) potato varieties from ADC molo and the seed unit planted millet and beans under irrigation. Elim farm committed to take care of the trials with support of the plot owners. The local County extension staff agreed to send out invitations to farmers from Njoro and to conduct on-farm training session during field day. The IAP was tasked to invite project partners – farmers, TVET institutions and exhibitors and plan the event.
For more information: Nakuru IAP Partners Field Day Report – Elim Farm, 8th March 2019-converted