We actively search for the inputs that farmers need, and develop partnerships to promote them.
Our Partners include:
- National and International Research Institutes,
- the Ministry of Agriculture’s Extension Services and
- private sector farm input supply Companies.
We have developed partnerships with 20 Seed Companies and 5 Fertilizer Companies in the Region.
Companies provide seeds for VBAs to conduct demonstrations in order to rapidly create demand for their products
Farming System Improvement
We believe that diversity is the key to food security.
Farmers are simultaneously offered a choice of inputs and services to improve their most important crops and livestock in their farming systems.
For crops, these currently include improved varieties of their most important crops, which include the following:
– cereals (maize, rice, sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet)
– legumes (beans, cowpeas, green grams, pigeon peas, soybean) crops
– oilseeds (sunflower)
– root and tuber (potato, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams)
– vegetables (kale, chinese cabbage, tomatoes, onions, amaranth, pumpkin, watermelon)
– fruit trees (mango, pawpaws, avocados)
– timber trees (Grevillea)
– cash crops (coffee, cocoa)
– fodder crops for livestock (napier grass, brachiaria, calliandra)
Other inputs include:
- improved fertilizer blends
- seed dressings
- post-harvest crop protection (diatomaceous earth)
For livestock, inputs and services currently include:
- a thermo-stable vaccine to protect indigenous chickens against the Newcastle disease,
- improved chicken breeds (Rainbow Rooster)
- improved goat breeds (Kenya Alpine)
- improved dairy breeds (Jersey, Ayrshire)
- improved pig breeds
- mineral salts
A Village-based Advisor in Singida district in Tanzania shows the range of inputs that he is promoting to improve the food security of farmers in his Village.
Inputs include improved varieties of sorghum (Macia), cowpeas (Tumaini), pearl millet (Okoa), sunflower (Record), Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and a thermo-stable Newcastle disease vaccine to protect indigenous chickens against the Newcastle disease.
The “Farming System Improvement” component inherently recognizes differences in gender and wealth, and that not all resource-poor farmers are initially able to adopt expensive inputs. For example, while a farmer may not initially be able to afford expensive seed and fertilizer to grow maize, she may be able to vaccinate her chickens. After selling her chickens, she may be able to buy the seed and/or fertilizer.
Self-employed Village-based Advisors (VBAs)
The appropriate Inputs and information are disseminated to farmers through VBAs.
- typically hard-working, selfless farmers
- selected by, and therefore trusted by, farmers in their Villages.
VBAs are taught:
- good crop/soil management,
- climate-smart technologies
- how to teach all farmers in their Villages, and
- how to make money from input supply and related services.
Most importantly, VBAs are able to generate enough income and are able to continue to offer their services to farmers after the end of a project.
Apart from benefiting from becoming better farmers, VBAs make money from a range of services which include: