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Kenya Markets Trusts partner in the crop seeds sector, Agri Experience, partnered with Business Advocacy Fund to organize a Business Advocacy training for twenty four officials from seven county agrodealers associations. The three-day training sought to help associations to effectively articulate issues of concern and constructively engage stakeholders for a better business environment in the sector. Participants were trained on advocacy, influencing, and media and communication approaches for Business Member Organizations.

Representatives of agrodealers associations taking part in group discussion during Business Advocacy TrainingRepresentatives of agrodealers associations taking part in group discussion during Business Advocacy Training

Members of agrodealers associations have encountered challenges in dealing with county governments on issues that impede their operations. Among the challenges are the on-going county and national government subsidy programs. Subsidies distort the input markets to the disadvantage of both agrodealers and farmers.

 

Some regulations and inhibitive imposition and collection of cess, levies and fees also stifle progress in the industry. Addressing these issues will enable agrodealers to effectively deliver climate smart, agricultural inputs and technologies to the farmers.

In empowering agrodealers to tackle the challenges, we encourage them to form and advocate for a better business environment through agrodealer associations under the County Agrodealer Associations Strengthening Program (CAASP). Some agrodealer associations are officially recognized by respective county governments and are represented in county agricultural committees. However, some of these members find it difficult to articulate members’ positions in the committees. Also, most association members find it difficult to identify root causes of problems and to effectively negotiate for necessary changes.

Representatives of agrodealers associations giving updates of their associations at the business advocacy training in NairobiRepresentatives of agrodealers associations giving updates of their associations at the business advocacy training in Nairobi

The officials in attendance appreciated the training and are expected to put the skills learnt in the training to use. With the training and support from Business Advocacy Fund, members of the associations will be well positioned to positively influence county governments. County Agrodealer Associations will be able to monitor and evaluate actions by county governments and propose good practices in the sector. They will also be more confident in using the media as an advocacy platform to articulate their issues.

 

Business Advocacy Fund (BAF) supports business member organisations, trade unions and civil society organisations to engage in private-public dialogue and to advocate for improvements in the business environment in Kenya. The expectation for the fund is that, if successful, changes in policies will lead to improvements in investment and, ultimately, more jobs. The Fund provides capacity building, mentoring and grants to support dialogue and advocacy projects.

 

The training was held in Nairobi between the 8th and 10th of June, 2016. It brought together officials from Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia, Siaya, Vihiga, Kericho and Embu county associations. A second training for a different set of associations from Central, Eastern and Coastal counties is scheduled for 10th July 2016.