Kenya has a long history of public agricultural extension services. In the past, the government was solely responsible for the provision of extension services through the Ministry of Agriculture. Today, the government extension officials to farmer ratio is very minimal and can no longer meet farmers’ expectations. To meet this challenge, extension practitioners need to seek private sector participation in the funding and delivery of extension services. This arrangement can be referred to as Agri-PPPs.
Agri-PPPs have the potential to help modernize the agriculture sector and contribute towards sustainable agricultural development that is inclusive of smallholder farmers.
It is against this backdrop that KMT partnered with the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK) in September 2016 to roll out county level exhibitions and workshops in 10 counties to promote public-private partnerships in delivery of extension services to farmers.
Through this partnership, AAK is bringing the public and private sectors together. The workshops are aimed at bridging the technology and information gap within the public sector particularly on pest management practices.
The events will bring together extension officers and lead farmers from the respective counties and interact with professionals in the areas of food safety, agribusiness and pest management. In turn the extension officers will disseminate the information to farmers in their respective areas of operation. With this, AAK hopes to improve market access by farmers through adoption of improved technologies and innovations, promote the safe and responsible use of pesticides and use of quality inputs for increased productivity.
Other stakeholders in implementation of the project are Pest Control Produce Board, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya and Horticultural Crops Directorate of the Agriculture and Food Authority.
The first workshop was held in Limuru recently where public and private sector extension officers as well as lead farmers were trained on climate smart agriculture, counterfeit/illegal agri-inputs, food safety and market requirements such as Maximum Residue Levels for the export market.
KMT’s partnership with AAK aims at promoting more collaboration between the private and public sector in dissemination of agricultural information to improve farmer productivity and help address Kenya’s food insecurity.