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Kenya Markets Trust in partnership with Agri Experience and the Busia Couny Government hosted a one-day agriculture stakeholders’ forum at Busia Agriculture Technical Center (ATC) grounds on Thursday, August 11, 2016, in which the Busia Agro-dealers Association was officially launched.

During this forum, industry players collectively discussed issues and explored solutions to increase agriculture productivity in the county particularly focusing on crop seed, with an ultimate goal of improving Kenya’s food security.

Participants register for the Busia County Agribusiness stakeholders forum at the Busia Agricultural Training Centre. The Busia Agro dealers Association was officially launched at the workshop.Participants register for the Busia Agribusiness Stakeholders Forum, during which the Busia Agrodealers Association was officially launched.

County agro-dealer associations are formed in a bid to develop an advocacy and influencing platform that links agrodealers to the counties. Through the associations, agrodealers can channel issues that affect their businesses directly to the county governments. The launch of the agro-dealers association will enable them to articulate business values, to ensure sound agriculture policies, advance agro dealers’ knowledge, and promote a respected, competent, motivated, and food secure county.

The one day Forum provided an open platform for the county government, agriculture extension officers, agrodealers, farmers and other industry players to discuss the status of agriculture, market distortions through subsidy programmes, farmer feedback and impact of cross border trade on the local businesses.

Antony Wahome, Chairman of Busia Agro Dealers Association, Andrew Netia, the Secretary, and Alison Mugendi, the Ag. Director of Agriculture, Busia County.

Antony Wahome, Chairman of Busia Agro Dealers Association, Andrew Netia, the Secretary, and Antony Mugendi, the Ag. Director of Agriculture, Busia County display registration certificate for the agro dealer association

Speaking at the event, Antony Wahome, the Chairman of Busia County Agro-dealers Association lauded the step they have made in making the association a formal registered organization. “It is a great step for the association to get registration certificate. Organized, we will work better with the county government and help farmers get quality inputs for improved production”, said Wahome. He said that improving smallholder farmer productivity is key in achieving food security in the country. According to Wahome, the association getting legitimacy will help it to form beneficial linkages with stakeholders in the agribusiness sector to even achieve self regulation, which will help deal with the fake agri-inputs menace in the country.

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Stakeholders at the Busia Agribusiness Forum.

Alison Mugendi, the Busia County Director of Agriculture, stated that the county government fully supports the initiative of agro-dealers working together as it makes it easy for the county to regulate the sector better. “Agriculture is a devolved sector under the new constitution” said Mr. Mugendi. “The county government of Busia is keen to create an enabling environment for investors in the agribusiness sector. I hope that this association will strengthen its operations and structures to become a formidable group that will be a model to transform the agribusiness sector in the county and the country at large,” said he. Mr. Mugendi also asked the association to engage the county government to help shape its subsidy programme, to ensure that it does not distort the market.

Antony Wahome, Chairman of Busia Agro Dealers Association

Antony Wahome, Chairman of Busia Agro Dealers Association, address the media during the Busia Agribusiness Forum in which the Association was officially launched.

By convening the stakeholders Forum, the Busia county agrodealers association gains visibility and legitimacy with the county government as the agrodealer voice in the county. Previously, the county government had encouraged the agrodealers to self-organize into an association that could articulate their issues and become the voice of agribusinesses and represent the farmers. Through the association, agrodealers in the county will now be able to access funds set aside by the county government for business growth and sit at county agriculture planning committees. This will enhance the business climate for agrodealers in the county, and ultimately help Busia’s farmers.

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Experts address the media during the Busia Agribusiness Stakeholders forum

KMT and Agri Experience are supporting agro dealers across the country to form associations and help shape the agribusiness sector. Currently, 21 associations have been formed and are at different stages of operationalization. The idea is to help agro dealers serve farmers better, as they are the first line of extension officers in the sector. Working in groups, agro dealers can be very essential in dealing with fake inputs in the country, adhering to set code of ethics in the business, and representing farmers in the counties.