Food Across Borders: Improving Food Security through Improved Agricultural Value Chains in East Africa

I spent the last two months traversing East Africa documenting a USAID farmer project called “CNFA Farmer to Farmer.”

Farmer to Farmer works to generate rapid sustained economic growth in the agricultural sector through short-term technical assistance provided by US volunteers. USAID-001

The program provides farmers’ associations, cooperatives and agribusinesses with the opportunity to benefit from free US consulting to improve performance, providing hosts with a professional approach to technical and financial issues.

My responsibility throughout Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania was to document the successes of the program through a multimedia project, through the use of photography, captions and testimonials.

Herein are samples of what the farmers thought.

USAID-002

Name: Ms. Biira Ritah Kapuru

Enterprise: Community Agriculture Teacher- Uganda Institute of Organic Farming

District: Kasese

Country: Uganda

“The farmers were ignorant at first about irrigation but with our trainings we acquired from CNFA, most of them now know the basics of how to irrigate their plants.”

USAID-003

Name:                  Omben Abraham

Enterprise:          KIBIU Vegetable Growers Group (Secretary)

District:                 Arusha

Country:              Tanzania

Testimony:

“Prior to the CNFA training, I used to get 30kgs per acre on my tomatoes but today, I harvest about 55kg because of one additive; efficient production.”

“I’ve managed to cajole close to 75% of other farmers in my group to keep financial records so as to know whether they are making profits or losses to aide proper planning.”

“Record keeping training has encouraged transparency among group members as accountability through financial records are clear and is accessible to any member of the group. Thanks to CNFA’s training on financial management.”

USAID-004

Enterprise:          Mwea Rice Growers Cooperative Society

Town:                   Thika

Testimony:

“More farmers now have confidence in our cooperative due to the professionally manner it’s handled. As a result we attracted 441 more farmers who supplied us with over 1 million kilograms of rice to add onto the 2.4 million we normally receive.”USAID-005

Name: Mrs. Katusabe Janet

Age: 39

Enterprise: Kitchen Garden

District: Masindi

Country: Uganda

“Kitchen Gardening has been a life saver for me and my two daughters, Kawa Sarah and Nyakato Janet who are HIV/AIDS positive. The Kitchen garden knowledge I got as a result of a training conducted by someone from CNFA has enabled me to grow all the nutritional crops that have provide immunity from other diseases that always had them bed ridden. “USAID-006

Name:                  Paschali Axweso Amnaay (Chairman)

Age:                       33

Enterprise:          Mahande Rice Irrigation Scheme (Umoja Wa Kulima)

District:                 MTO-WA-MBU

Country:              Tanzania

Testimony:

“As a farmer, CNFA trainings has enabled me to educate my young brother, education my children and bought myself other farms after shifting to modern ways of cultivating rice.”

“I have trained many farmers who were not fortunate to attend the CNFA training and many have come back testifying to me how successful they have become. For me, that’s a bumper harvest.”USAID-007

Enterprise:          Mwea Rice Growers Cooperative Society

Town:                   Thika

Country:              Kenya

Testimony:

“More farmers now have confidence in our cooperative due to the professionally manner it’s handled. As a result we attracted 441 more farmers who supplied us with over 1 million kilograms of rice to add onto the 2.4 million we normally receive.”USAID-008

Name:                  Musangi Kilonzi

Age:                       62

Enterprise:          Mango

County:                Kitui

Country:              Kenya

Testimony:

“Since I was born, I did not ever think mangoes could help me generate income, going to the extent of giving them out to brokers from Nairobi for free. It all changed when CNFA came around.”

“Today, I am more inquisitive about fruits in general. CNFA has helped me be more aware of some of the treasures that lie around idle when I could make money out of them.”

“I’m more interested in mangoes because at my age, I would have to grow them every season. Besides, I can just harvest them from the vicinity of my compound.”USAID-009

Name: Rev. Jackson Madoba

Age: 50

Enterprise: Cassava

District: Busia

Country: Uganda

“I have started practicing agriculture as a business after benefiting from CNFA training. Before the training, I was not generating much income from my harvests, being mainly for home consumption.”

“My family diet has also improved because now I can grow a variety of crops and also buy those foods that I don’t have from the market after selling my Cassava. Without money, my diet would have been limited.”

“I need a better understanding on how to grow crops all season long, even during the dry season. Irrigation training by CNFA in the future would thus help me achieve this dream.”USAID-010

Name:                  Lota Charles

Age:                       53

Enterprise:          Midawe Vegetable Group

District:                 Bangata

Country:               Tanzania

Testimony:

“Irrigation training enabled me to diversify crops from local crops to high value crops like peas, fresh beans among others. This increased my output, resulting into increased profits that helped me build a home for my family and buy an exotic cow.”USAID-011

Enterprise:          Dryland Seed Limited (Managing Director).

County:                Machakos

Testimony:

“We have benefited from as many as five consultants from CNFA ranging from production, software usage, writing business plans and seed processing as well as, technical assistance training on operations management.”USAID-012

Name:                  Susan Chesambu

Age:                       75 Years

Host:                     Kapchorwa Commercial Farmers Association (KACOFA)

Enterprise:          Farmer (Coffee)

District:                 Kapchorwa

Country:              Uganda

“The CNFA extended to me modern ways of growing coffee. They taught me how to choose coffee seeds, how to space, harvest and handle post harvest coffee seeds. This has resulted into clean coffee with improved quality.”

“I attribute the completion of my house as a direct beneficiary from the CNFA trainings which tremendously increased by coffee sales as a result of practicing modern coffee growing.”USAID-013

Name: Mwine Fred

Enterprise:                Cattle Rearing

District:                      Mbarara

Country:                    Uganda

Testimonial:

“I have since stopped depending on natural grass in grazing my cattle after the CNFA training. Today, despite the weather challenges, I grow hey for my cattle.”

“The expertise training on how to prevent tick and the technicalities  of extra feeding of cattle with proper feeds which has eventually increased my total milk production from about 10litres to over 100 litres per day.”USAID-014

Country:                       Kenya

Enterprise:                    Molo Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC)

Molo Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC)  benefited from CNFA volunteer trainings on improvement of seed potato production at the lab.

The CNFA volunteer assistance helped ADC increase her green house capacity and yields, improved water quality in the green house, less contamination rates observed in the ADC Molo lab, better knowledge on visual virus symptoms from yields and improved involved by ADC staff in roqueing, that is removing diseased plants on a regular basis among others.USAID-015

Name:                  Ernest Lota Megeli (Chairman)

Age:                       53

Enterprise:          Midawe Vegetable Group

District:                 Bangata

Testimony:

“CNFA’s training on leadership made me realize a leader is supposed to guide those under his or her stewardship, encourage positivity, unify divisions and be tolerant.”

“And contrary to our strict traditional values, leadership is not supposed to discriminate according to gender or age.”

“During my leadership, I have managed to raise food production from 20 tons in 2009 per harvest to 113 tons in 2012/2013.”

“CNFA has been a life changer to people in Bangata. We realize, an investment in education is permanent and we thank CNFA for enlightening us and changing our lives for the better.”USAID-016

Meru Central Multipuporse Co-op Society Ltd

Country:                 Kenya

USAID-017

Name:                  Abdalah Sumaye (Finance Secretary)

Age:                       45

Enterprise:          GENDI Rural Cooperative Society

District:                 Babati, Manyara Region

Country:               Tanzania

Testimony:

“I wasn’t informed on how to keep records in an organization, however, after the CNFA training on financial management; I started keep neat financial records in files for the cooperative.”

“Keeping records has helped Gendi Cooperative Society analyze her performance from time to time on whether they are making profits or losses and also helped in creating tangible budgets for the running of the cooperative.”

“We have been able to easily access loans from financial institution to help our farmers because of our good financial management.” USAID-018

Name:                  Farmers

Enterprise:          Usomama Saccos Ltd

District:                 Masakta, Manyara Region

Testimony:

“Farmers belonging to Usomama Sacco bring their products by cow wagon for storage at Usomama Warehouses in Masakata town which can store 6000tons of farmers produce.”USAID-019

Name:                  Angelinia Michael Shirima

Age:                       42

Enterprise:          Mahande Rice Irrigation Scheme (Umoja Wa Kulima)

District:                 MTO-WA-MBU

Country:              Tanzania

Testimony:

“Before CNFA, I was not practicing line transplantation of rice choosing to randomly plant the rice. Today, I use the correct lining when transplanting rice from the nursery, measure the seed weight per unit area which has increase my production from 18 to 40 bags.”

“I now have the technical knowledge on when and how to apply fertilizers to my rice plantation. Before CNFA, I was applying fertilizers when the rice stalks had stared becoming yellow, today; I apply after a recommended standard of 30 days.”

“Rice growing has been my life. It has enabled me build for my family a new family home, pay school fees for my children and bought a bicycle to ease my movements while looking for market.”USAID-020

Name:                  Jessica Jairas (Vice Chairperson)

Age:                       54

Enterprise:          Usomama Saccos Ltd

District:                 Masakta, Manyara Region

Country:              Tanzania

Testimony:

“From the CNFA trainings, I have managed to reduce crop losses by having proper crop protection, proper post production handling and doing market research to sell to the best buyer.”

“CNFA motivated me to try the gray areas initially dominated by men and that was primarily through raising my self esteem.”

“Education has no limit. It’s a continuous process and if CNFA can come with more trainings, I would be utterly delighted not just for myself but my neighbors’, my community, and Sacco as a whole.”

40 thoughts on “Food Across Borders: Improving Food Security through Improved Agricultural Value Chains in East Africa

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