Over 3,000 farmers and 40 stakeholders in agriculture including County Government, input suppliers, traders, financial institutions, insurance firms converged at the Mwea Agriculture Expo held at Wang’uru stadium on 24th June 2016.
The Expo was organised by New Down Town Ltd (A leading Agri Input Distributor based in Mwea) in partnership with Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) and Kirinyaga County government.
The objective of the Expo was to promote access to and effective use of certified agricultural inputs. The one day exhibition provided an open platform where agricultural value chains actors showcased products and services including seeds, agrochemicals, fertilizers, soil testing and amendment technologies, effective crop protection and irrigation technologies and, financial solutions.
Attendants register at the entrance of the Mwea Expo
In addition to training the huge number of enthusiastic farmers who turned up from the greater Kirinyaga county, the expo was a great forum for input companies to increase the awareness of their products, present any new products and innovations, test their company’s competitive capability and strengthen their existing business network under New Down Town (K) Ltd.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, KMT organized a business luncheon at Mwea Guest house where about 80 input subsector stakeholders deliberated on “Effects of noncompliance with Maximum Residue Levels to the horticultural sub-sector in Kirinyaga County and Kenya as a whole”.
Why this discussion?
Kirinyaga County is home for Horticulture farming which is a key foreign exchange earner in Kenya. Agricultural accounts for 65% of the total export earnings in Kenya with horticulture being the largest agricultural sub-sector contributing about 33% of the Agricultural GDP and 38% of export earnings
Despite this critical importance, farmers have increasingly faced a ban on their export produce due to non-compliance with maximum residue levels in the agrochemicals they use. Export markets continue to increase standards regulating chemical residue levels leading to the ban of commonly used pesticides or severe restriction of their use. This move has negatively affected export earnings. Kenya’s horticulture export trends show that earnings dropped from 97.1 B in 2010 to 84.1 B in 2014 (Source KNBS 2015). KMT is intervening to mitigate this situation to enable the smallholder farmers increase their incomes and create jobs.
KMT set the stage by making a presentation on non-compliance situational analysis.
The panelists included Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK) and New Downtown. Input companies CEOs and lead farmers attended the luncheon.
The objective of the forum was to deliberate on compliance to maximum residue levels for improved food safety in Kenya.
A committee to promote compliance with maximum residue levels by smallholder farmers was formed and this will be escalated to the national level.
Input firms exhibit their products at the Mwea Agribusiness Expo
A farmer inquires at an exhibitor’s desk
Safaricom Ltd stand at the Mwea Agri-Inputs Expo. The firm exhibited some of their services, like savings and M-shwari loans, to farmers.
Equity Bank’s Equitel stand at the Mwea Agri-Inputs Expo. The firm exhibited some of their mobile telephone services to farmers.
Britam Insurance stand at the Mwea Agri-Inputs Expo. The firm exhibited their insurance products suitable to farmers
A banana on display at the expo, showing the results of proper crop husbandry
A farmer departs from the Mwea Agri-Inputs Expo having purchased tissue culture bananas displayed by exhibitors
A farmer takes home tissue culture banana from the Mwea Agri-Inputs Expo
Panelists at the “Effects of noncompliance to Maximum Residue Levels in Agri-Inputs sector” stakeholder discussion. From left: Antony Mutiso, Industry Relations Manager, FPEAK, Evelyn Lusenaka, CEO Agrochemicals Association of Kenya, and New Down Town MD, Mwalimu Gabriel Muchira