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Agrodealer Led Climate Smart Demos Innovation

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Published on Feb 22, 2017

Kenya Markets Trust implementing partner in the crop seed sector, Agri Experience, facilitated climate smart agrodealer-led demos for the 2016 short rains (Sep/Oct). Field days that involve local farmers, seed companies and other agri-input suppliers have been on-going since Dec 2016, with the final field days slated in March2017. The demos are aimed at:
a) Encouraging farmers to plant a wide variety of crops by show casing the potential of climate-smart crops that are properly targeted for their agro-ecology. Emphasis was placed on non-maize on crops such as sorghum, beans and cowpeas.
b) Encouraging farmers to increase their uptake of certified seed and in particular climate smart varieties (that is, varieties which are water efficient, pest/disease tolerant; have high germination rate; early maturing; drought tolerant) by seeing the differences in yield between certified and recycled seeds.

The agrodealer led demos were carried out by 71 agrodealers from 20 counties i.e. Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Laikipia, Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado, Kisii, Nyamira, Homabay, Kisumu, Siaya, Busia, Kakamega, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta.
The selection of the counties for the demos was based on
• Counties with low information on alternative seed choices but with high potentials of adoption of certified seeds
• Counties with high numbers of smallholder farmers
• Counties with presence of some organized women farmer groups
• Counties where Agri Experience programs are running
• Counties exhibiting stressed climatic conditions
• Counties with willing agrodealers to participate in the demo activities

The agrodealers were linked to seed companies who gave sample seeds based on MbeguChoice advice on positioning as well as climate smart attributes such as drought tolerance, water efficient, pest and diseased tolerance, early maturing and high yielding. Seed varieties from different seed companies were planted next to each other so as to provide clear comparison. 9 Seed companies partnered with agrodealers for these demos.
Over 250 demos were planted across all the counties; unfortunately due extreme weather conditions (hail in certain regions in western Kenya and the current drought), approximately 17% of the target demos were unsuccessful. By the end of February 2017, 52 field days will have been carried out with over 3,000 small holder farmers in attendance. Many more farmers have been impacted by these agrodealer led climate smart demoes both directly and/or indirectly.
The field days are organised by the host agrodealer with seed companies and other agri-input companies in attendance to highlight to farmers the best agronomic practices to use to achieve best results and high yields with their products.
The results are beginning to show with anecdotal reports from farmers who previously recycle seed buying and/or planning to buy certified seed. The awe from farmers was very evident when they realised that certain crops that are considered not typical for that region can actually do well.
“I usually buy certified seed but this time round I used the ones I had harvested last season, none has done well.” Ms Nancy Kina, a farmer in Embu. Her maize stunted at the milk stage.

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