Matching Farmers with Traders and Schools on Kenya's Coast

Officials during the matchmaking event on the school visitTo increase coastal farmers’ access to the HGSF market in Kenya, the Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College London and Dutch organisation, SNV recently organised a matchmaking event between farmer and cooperative groups, traders, schools and local government officials. During the event business connections between farmers, traders and schools were established to allow more farmer produce to be supplied to Kenya’s Home Grown School Meals (HGSM) programme. 

 The event also taught specific lessons on procurement processes and business plan models to increase farmers’ entrepreneurial skills and revenues. Lessons learnt were supported by visits to farmer groups, schools and trader shops to enable stakeholders to see first-hand the practicalities of the programme’s production processes, supply and delivery, and during a plenary session, participants contributed their views and questions. 

Workshop Results:

To help farmers plan activities more efficiently:
  • County officials agreed to support farmers with certified seeds and to give low lending rates for the purchase of seeds 
  • The Government agreed to release funds to farmers before the beginning of the school terms
To improve knowledge:  
  • Agricultural extension officers are to enhance farming methods by sharing information promptly through mobile phone SMS  
  • County officials agreed to alert farmers to when new commodities (e.g. fertilizers) are available
To meet additional school meals’ nutritional requirements: 
  • Schools committed to supplement the programme with school gardens to meet additional nutritional requirements 
  • New produce such as pulses will be supplied to the programme to supplement the beans and maize currently used in the meals 
To strengthen farmer groups:
  • Smaller farmer groups agreed to form associations to create stronger establishments 
  • Farmers and traders discussed putting in place contracts to secure buying and selling activities 
  • Traders agreed to use farmers directly rather than using middlemen in order to save time and increase farmer wages  
Following the success of the event matchmaking is now planned with traders, farmer groups, head teachers and school management committees in Kenya’s Ganze District in July. 

The Bigger Picture 

The event forms part of a larger intervention carried out by PCD and SNV in the region to increase the local purchase of farmer produce for the programme and to address challenges of farmer produce being sourced from large distances within Kenya and even outside of the country in neighbouring Tanzania. 
Among other activities planned the project will support farmer groups to develop a range of techniques including: agricultural practices and post-harvest value addition processes such as drying, cleaning and grading. The intervention is hoped to steer the development of the ‘Home Grown’ in Home Grown School Feeding across other regions in Kenya. 

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