In Summary
  • Couples are now discussing how they can improve earnings from coffee and how this can help them in achieving their set goal.
  • The Quality Seed Company, speared by African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), will offer support to seed farms in sub-Saharan Africa and will be headed by seasoned agriculturalist Andy Watt, a former head of Syngenta East and Southern Africa.
  • André Laperrière, the CEO of GODAN, called for accessibility of data by majority of people, to enable better decision-making and avert calamities propagated by lack of factual information.
  • Wachira Kaguongo, National Potato Council of Kenya chief executive, said that all is not lost as far as standard packaging regulations is concerned.

The view that coffee is a man’s crop, thus, should only benefit them economically even though it is tended to by woman is slowly changing across East Africa.

While in Kenya the sector is gender sensitive as more women are cultivating the crop, and benefiting from it economically, in Tanzania, men still dominate the farming.

And stakeholders are working hard to change this way of operation to boost both production and earnings. Hivos East Africa, working with farmers in Tanzania, are incorporating women into coffee production by enlightening families on need to plan for income from coffee.

“Couples are now discussing how they can improve earnings from coffee and how this can help them in achieving their set goals,” said Charles Kaigwa, the HIVOS East Africa Country coordinator for Tanzania.

Working under Gender Action Learning System, the project involves getting couples to set both short and long–term farming goals together.

“We want to increase quality, quantity and women involvement in coffee farming. Initially, men would use family labour in coffee production but selfishly and solely budget for the income without involving their wives.” Therefore, some women would steal coffee from the family farm and sell to brokers secretly.

Farmer Happy Jasmine, however, noted the stealing is now a thing of the past since men and women are working together.

“We now plan and budget together and are happily enjoying coffee earnings as a family,” she said.

From the family’s two acres of coffee in Mwanga, her husband Edson Amani used to harvest between 50-50kg of the produce. But the yield has since increased to between 200-250kg following better management. The couple sell their coffee through Vuasu Cooperative Union earning about Sh150 per kilo.

By Rachel Kibui

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New organisation to support small seed companies

A new organisation to support small and medium sized seed companies in production and maintenance of quality seeds has been launched in Nairobi.

The Quality Seed Company, speared by African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), will offer support to seed farms in sub-Saharan Africa and will be headed by seasoned agriculturalist Andy Watt, a former head of Syngenta East and Southern Africa.

Watt expressed confidence in the new task saying his first order of business will be to build an interdependent relationship with seed companies as its customers and nurture trust and confidence. “We expect him to put up the right structures in place and get the company running to accomplish the need it was set out for,” said Denis Kyetere, Executive Director at AATF.

By Brian Okinda

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Experts call for use of data to curb perennial food shortage problem

Famine can be avoided if requisite data from various agencies is released to farmers, according to the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary.

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