International Fertilizer Development Center -IFDC

The IFDC is a public international organization working to alleviate global hunger by introducing improved agricultural practices and fertilizer technologies to farmers and by linking farmers to markets. The project’s main goal is to improve the living standards of small-scale farmers and families living within Nyandarua by raising their revenue generated from potato farming by at least 30% through adoption of new technologies, including use of certified potato seed and new varieties that are more productive and marketable, consistent practice of Good Agricultural Practices, improved farm management skills and market access.

Projects

  1. International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) in Kenya through funding from Irish Aid in collaboration with county government of Nyandarua is implementing a Potato Value Chain Capacity Building Project (PCB) targeting 3000 smallholder farmers.

Area of coverage

Nyandarua county

Period

2018 – 2020

Objectives of the project

The objective of PCB project and on-farm demonstration sites is:

  1. To describe on-site techniques and improved agriculture required in the potato production chain
  2. To offer a learning platform for potato farmers around Nyandarua county
  3. To access different variety performance
  4. Offer platform for farmers to network with other service providers along potato production and supply value chain
  5. To link trained farmers to markets
  6. To link farmers with financial institutions to ease input financing.

PCB in figures

1:1                   Ratio of cost share

€2M                 Total project budget

3                      Life of project in years (2018- 2020)

6                      Number of current partners

30                    % increase in revenue from potato by 2020

50                    MT of potato seed distributed to farmers by 2020

60                    % of female beneficiaries

3,000              Number of targeted beneficiaries

Project activities

Potato farming is the main occupation of the people of Nyandarua County. With most of the population directly or indirectly involved in agriculture and its related occupations for earning livelihood. Agricultural activities can be observed throughout the county. Improvement in agriculture is possible with the adoption of new and modern farming agro-techniques.

The school gardening component of the project is applying the farmer field business school (FFBS) approach and aims to instill practical skills by using field’s demonstration plots for water and soil management methods, quality control, post-harvest handling and other areas in the potato production chain.

Extension methods like demonstration plots and field days as well as exchange visits by farmers are some of the major weapons for introducing the findings of modern research in agricultural practices to increase agricultural production and uplift of the rural masses in general and improve yield. Moreover, extension methods stimulate adult, youth, both male and female, for action. 

There is need to educate the farmers on the importance of improved farming practices, adaptation of proven and tested production technologies and better utilization of  land holding through well-coordinated efforts of agricultural research and extension with developmental organizations.

PCB project has therefore facilitated training of over 1,400 farmers (over 30% of the 3-year target) on GAPs of potato production from soil test, seed selection, land preparation and management, planting, crop management, harvesting, storage and post-harvest handling as well as potato agro-processing.

Project Achievements/ Highlights

  • The PCB Project was received with a lot of interest and support by the county government right from the project launch. This has translated to tremendous support and appreciation from the stakeholders – farmers, extension officers and county officials are ready to support and work with the project.
  • Baseline survey and Gender assessment for the project were conducted in June – July 2018. Key findings corroborate the need for interventions in the area of seed, soil fertility management, input financing and marketing. Also, the need of bringing women on board as drivers of the value chain in terms of leadership, and decision making in areas of income allocation and nutrition.
  • The project has managed to train 1,756 farmers (819M, 937F) through the FFBS platform and through various training avenues such as conferences and field days.
  • FFBS sessions are scheduled with the 2 potato planting seasons every year. The first batch of 70 farmers (29M, 41F) was reached through 4 Farmer Field Business Schools (FFBSs). They completed FFBS curriculum and graduated in August 2018.
  • The second batch of 379 farmers (153M, 226F) was trained through 19 FFBSs that were implemented between September 2018 and January 2019.
  • The project has used a variety of activities to expose farmers to improved farming methods, mechanization and technologies that are bound to improve yields and incomes. These include farmer field days hosted at the FFBS demos, exchange trips and fairs such hosted by partners including the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK), National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) Wambugu Farm Agricultural Training Center among others. In total, these education events enabled the project reach1,318 farmers (721M, 745F)
  • IFDC has formed working relationships with various partners including agrochemical companies, soil nutrition and soil fertility companies and financial institutions that have supported the project by providing technical advice and free samples of their products that are used in the demos. They have also provided farmer training services during the field days.
  • The first group of farmers entered into contract farming with 2 potato buyers. The group comprising of 31 farmers (13M, 18F) have also benefited from input financing by Agri-wallet – a mobile based financing platform that ensures farmers only use the credit for inputs and save a certain portion once they sell their produce.
  • 12 lead farmers were trained as FFBS facilitators. 300 farmers were trained by their fellow farmers.
  • Mechanization services: The project has partnered with the county government Agricultural Mechanization Services (AMS) to demonstrate how farmers can benefit from mechanizing potato farming operations to cut costs and improve their yields.
  • Piloting innovative solutions to financial input and supply chain financing alongside contract farming: we are piloting a mobile phone-based application to provide input financing to farmers enabling them to capitalize farm operations and eventually meet the buyers’ demand in terms of quantity and quality. The buyer, financier and farmer enter a tri-partite agreement aimed at ensuring at eliminating financing, consistency, and dependability which are some key bottlenecks across the value chain.

Implementing partners

  • IFDC
  • TEAGASC
  • County Government of Nyandarua
  • Kirinyaga Seed company
  • NPCK
  • Crop-care Technologies ltd

More details