During the first year of IDDRSI Implementation Letter of the project, three studies were conducted in the Karamoja cluster to assess the relevance of existing drought resilience enhancing innovative technologies. They identified good practices for replication by the private sector in the cluster and beyond, as well as the challenges they face and how they can be mitigated, and the opportunities available for achieving sustainability. The studies focused on:
(a) Fodder and fodder seed production; (b) livestock value chains, and; (c) African-grown staple grains and horticultural products. Emphasis was placed on identification of the strategies for adoption and replication, as well as the private sector actors to bring on board, including members of women and youth groups and representatives of regulatory bodies.
Three business case factsheets on resilience enhancing technologies and good practices on (i) fodder and fodder seed production; (ii) livestock value chain, and: (iii) African grown staple grain); and seven investment opportunities for the private sector were identified, which need to be promoted to leverage the resilience innovative technologies.
The meeting was officially opened by Mr. Paul Lokone, Director, Agriculture, Turkana county who reiterated on the importance of changing the livelihoods for the people and emphasized on changing the community’s attitudes with regards to their capabilities through such trainings. The trainees included two women and twenty-five males.
The training was conducted by the East African Grain Council (EAGC) who’s aim is to develop, promote, and influence structured grain trading system in the Eastern Africa region with defined rules and regulations and to improve the policy and trading environment in the regional grain trade, strengthen market linkages and reduce constraints along the grain value chain.
The main objectives of the training were;
- To provide a simplified methodology to understanding the resilience enhancing innovative technologies, investments and practices in African-grown staple grains and horticultural products
- To establish a structured intervention and process for the development and commercialization of sustainable and resilient African-grown staple grains and horticultural value chains
- To equip training participants (farmer trainers and smallholder farmers) with practical skills to cascade knowledge for scaling up resilience enhancing innovative technologies, investments and practices in African-grown staple grains and horticultural products in their localities.
The meeting included representatives from farmer organizations, grain millers, representatives from ministries, districts, research institutions (experts), cross border grain traders, climate smart agriculturists, marketers and researchers in the Karamoja and Mandera Clusters and ICPALD staff.
The different clusters highlighted on the issues that affected grains and cereals from their respective areas that ranged from production, to harvesting and market. Most of the issues revolved around the climate change and the effects it had on production of their grains. The training was highly participatory and involved detailed group discussion’s as per the objectives.
Key issues of discussions included;
- Challenges faced by the clusters that include; scarcity of water faced by producers, insecurity, hence less produce and poor market.
- Current technologies used that cannot be up scaled for those with smaller farm units.
- The need for lessons learnt to be relayed to the national level so as to encourage support from relevant governments.
- Changes in farming systems from traditional to modern technologies to support their initiatives
- The need for market linkages for their produce post-harvest.
- Support for better storage infrastructure by governments or donor agencies to ensure quality.
- Identification of resilience enhancing technologies for cereal and grain.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The meeting concluded with a feedback session, whereby all participants agreed on the following;
- The importance of translating these training to the ground by implementing.
- The importance of these forums in initiating peace in the region between the Pokot, Turkana, Karamoja and other Cross border communities to avert backwardness of livestock theft and raids.
- The trainees were encouraged to go back to their communities to form associations that that help them achieve the structured grain trade concept for the benefit of the community.
- More trainings to be allocated for trade and policy in the region.
- The need for the aflatoxin remover to be introduced to the region to ensure safe consumption of food and for export.
Mr. Lokone, the Director of Agriculture, Turkana county and Mr. Philip Tingaa, Director, Agriculture West Pokot county officially closed the training. They emphasized on the importance of bringing the cross border communities together due to their common interests. And the need for EAGC to consult more with the county governments to incorporate the County Investments Development Plans (CIDPs). To input grain trade in it and on how commodities can move within the region considering the availability of resources that can benefit the people.
ICPALD expresses appreciation to USAID for financing this activity.