REACHING OUT TO SMALLHOLDER FARMERS – PART 2
REACHING OUT TO SMALLHOLDERS..... PART 2
Just over a month has past since I last wrote about KAPI’s aim to reach out to smallholders – and what a busy month it has been!
As mentioned in my previous blog – working together with KOAN (Kenya Organic Agricultural Network), Kenya Organic Agriculture Network – Home | Facebook and more recently with BioVision Africa Trust https://biovisionafricatrust.org/ – we have commenced our journey into the world of EDUCATION by holding our first three educational FARMER’S FORUMS, firstly in Machakos Country and then just this week, in Gilgil, Nakuru Country.
The training itself is focused around Pyrethrum (and of course, Kapi Limited’s range of pyrethrum based agricultural insecticides) – What it does, How it is used, Why it is such a brilliant NATURAL INSECTICIDE.
What we have learnt in chatting to all our pyrethrum stakeholders is that whilst every Kenyan will be able to tell you ‘what pyrethrum is’ – remarkably few will be able to tell you ‘what pyrethrum does’ – and given that at the time of Kenya’s Independence and the following decade, pyrethrum was one of Kenya’s biggest export crops after tea and coffee….that is somewhat surprising!
Most Kenyans know pyrethrum to be a fantastic cash crop for smallholder farmers – it is a flower that many used to pick when they were children and many of Kenya’s top politicians had their education paid for on the back of the once thriving pyrethrum industry….but what pyrethrum actually does???! Well that is a whole different matter!
Just some of the KEY BENEFITS of pyrethrum are laid out below:
PYRETHRUM is a BROAD SPECTRUM INSECTICIDE
This means it kills a wide range of insects including thrips, aphids, whiteflies and a whole host of other pests. This means farmers can use ONE insecticide to tackle a range of pest problems instead of buying lots of different chemical alternatives.
PYRETHRUM LEAVES ZERO RESIDUES
Pyrethrum naturally degrades in sunlight and has a pre-harvest interval (PHI) of just 24hrs. This means, if used correctly, after a maximum of 24hrs, there will be ZERO RESIDUES left on the crop.
If used correctly, farmers can safely sell their produce into the marketplace, secure in the knowledge that they have NO POISONOUS RESIDUES left on them.
NO KNOWN INSECT RESISTANCE TO PYRETHRUM
Insects are not able to build any resistance to pyrethrum due to its six esthers, known as pyrethrins.
This means that farmers will never need to increase the dose they use against a pest. This is different to chemical equivalents where over time, farmers find themselves using more of the same chemical as the insect builds resistance.
At each of these three forums, we have been delighted to welcome more than 50 farmers – many are travelling some distance to attend which shows how keen they are. Our next forum, planned for Eburu, next month, we are being told will attract over 100 farmers! It feels truly exciting.
The trainings have opened up a great dialogue between ourselves and farmers. They have re-affirmed what we already suspected – that there is a very real desire amongst Kenyan smallholder farmers to produce ‘Safe Food’ – food without residues, and where possible, without the use of conventional chemical pesticides. Some may not be able to afford the lengthy and extensive process of moving fully organic – but the first simple step they can take is to ensure that their end produce is sold into the marketplace WITHOUT residues, and this is something that we know we can help them with.
The remaining piece in the puzzle is HOW farmers can access our products once we have finished the forums. We have quickly learnt through trial, that direct supply is not a viable option and we believe that partnership with trusted outlets, be they agrovets or agricultural suppliers, is the way forward.
We have taken initial steps by joining forces with two outlets here in Nakuru County – one in Naivasha Town, called Hybrid https://web.facebook.com/hybridagriculturalsupport/?_rdc=1&_rdr and another near Gilgil Town. These two outlets have taken delivery of our full range of Natural Organic Insecticides, we have offered a comprehensive staff training and we are supporting them with follow up Farmer’s Forums, in their area – a ‘win win’ for both the outlet and the farmer. It is our intention to roll this out, region by region, across Kenya. We feel that with a pragmatic approach, and a plan in place, we will, over time, comfortably reach out to hundreds and thousands of smallholder farmers, spreading the ‘SAFE FOOD’ message as we go!
We shall continue to share this uplifting journey with you as it unfolds!