- Safaricom Foundation says the 18-month programme was funded to the tune of Sh23 million.
- The Wezesha Agri programme seeks to enable the youth to make economic strides and establish profitable agribusiness ventures.
Over 700 farmers in Kajiado County have benefitted form climate smart agriculture training.
This is courtesy Safaricom Foundation’s Wezesha Agri-Programme in Kajiado County.
The programme which is a partnership between Kajiado County, Africa Instore Solutions (AIS), Endev and Safaricom’s Digifarm trains young farmers in climate-smart agriculture and creates agribusiness opportunities for them.
Joseph Ogutu, Chairman, Safaricom Foundation said the 18-month programme was funded to the tune of Sh23 million.
He said this encompassed a comprehensive approach to empower farmers, with training in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) through demo farm initiatives and also equipping them with entrepreneurial skills.
This is in addition to mentoring young farmers with agricultural technology and innovation and also collaborating with partners to establish markets for the farmers.
“Wezesha Agri seeks to enable the youth to make economic strides and establish profitable agribusiness ventures. So far, we have had over 1000 farmers graduate from this programme. We look forward to transforming the lives of more Kenyans through the provision of economic empowerment opportunities,” said Ogutu.
In its 2023-2026 strategy, Safaricom Foundation incorporated agribusiness, along with enterprise development and ecopreneurship as key components of its economic empowerment programmes.
As part of its training efforts, the Wezesha Agri programme has set up a demonstration farm in Kuku Ward within Kajiado South subcounty, which aims to support and empower 1000 women and youth through capacity development.
“Farmers are provided withpractical agricultural training at the farm in conjunction with the county government’s Agriculture Extension Officers. They are then introduced to climate-smart technologies and innovations that can be adopted for income generation opportunities. So far, over 1800 farmers have received training at the demo farm,” he said.
Safaricom Foundation has further partnered with Kenyan communities, organizations and institutions to improve and transform lives.
“With a footprint in all of Kenya’s 47 counties and a strong history of partnerships dating back to our inception in 2003, Safaricom Foundation has worked with speed, simplicity and trust to implement over 4,000 community projects, impacting over six million people,” said Ogutu.
He added that the programme also aims to provide training to women and youth on good agricultural practices and also create employment for at least 100,000 young people.
In March, more than 200 young farmers graduated in Kajiado county after a five-month training on farming best practices.
Muthoni Muchira who is one of the graduates said she learnt more about safe pesticide use and how to access the market.
“I have learnt about different types of vegetables and I would like to plant carrots. I have gone to the market and researched the carrot market and am motivated to start,” she said.
“I grew up planting maize on my family’s farm and had no clue about agribusiness. From the training, I have learnt a lot about safe pesticide use and accessing the market. Now I can advise other farmers,” said Joseph Nakodo.
He urged the County Government to improve the infrastructure, which has been a stumbling block while transporting the harvest.
“The foundation aims to improve the lives of Kenyans. The young people that graduated are expected to replicate these ideas in other areas. We chose Kajiado because it was a prime place to use technology and improve agricultural practices that are heavily affected by drought,” Linda Kasina a Trustee with Safaricom Foundation said.
The United Nations- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) explained that climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach meant to guide actions to transform agri-food systems towards green and climate resilient practices.
CSA aims to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes, adapt and build resilience to climate change. In addition to reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions.
Farmers in Kenya continue to struggle due to the effects of climate change, and many have had to look for climate smart technologies that can help cope with climate shocks.
To address this, researchers at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Kalro) have developed climate smart technologies that seek to build farmers’ resilience in absorbing the shocks and stresses of climate change.
Some of the climate smart technologies that have been developed by researchers from Kalro include high quality animal breeds that can do well under stressed conditions.
There are also drought resistant fodder that can be grown in dry areas, online weather apps that farmers can use to get real time weather information using their mobile phones among others.
The World Bank indicated that the CSA concept reflects an ambition to further integrate agricultural development and climate responsiveness. It also aims to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand.
The World Bank further indicated that CSA initiatives can sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience, and minimise greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Government explored innovative and transformative measures to assist stakeholders across the agricultural value chains. This was aimed at managing the effects of current and projected change of climate patterns.
In line with this, the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Implementation Framework, 2018-2027 (KCSAIF) was developed to provide a guide to various innovative and transformative initiatives and best practices that will strive to address challenges brought about by climate change.
The framework seeks to envision a climate resilient and low carbon growth sustainable agriculture that ensures food security and contributes to national development goals in line with Kenya Vision 2030.
It is envisioned to ensure increased agricultural productivity and sustainably and also build resilience of the national agricultural systems. It also aims at providing various options for implementation of the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Strategy 2017-2026 (KCSAS).