FIPS-Africa has developed and supports a network of over 3,300 self-employed Village-based Advisors (VBAs) in locations across Kenya. We partner with the Ministry of Agriculture, non-profit organizations, seed and farm input companies, and research organizations. These partnerships ensure that VBAs provide advice and guidance and sell inputs and services to support the most appropriate crop and livestock options for any given location. Our VBAs are working in their home villages with FIPS-Africa’s Small Pack approach to improve the food security and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Kenya. FIPS-Africa is also actively involved in research, and developing agricultural enterprises to lift young people into dignified work.


The VBA-Small Pack Model developed by FIPS-Africa has been widely copied across Africa and beyond. This has had inconsistent results, especially when the work omits key and critical elements of the FIPS-Africa’s approach.

The FIPS-Africa Training Unit has developed a workshop process based on FIPS-Africa’s twenty years’ experience of implementing the VBA-Small Pack approach. It also supports its implementing partners in other countries to fine-tune the model to their specific country context, opportunities and challenges.  FIPS-Africa works with a range of organizations to develop the self-employed VBA-Small Pack Model in different African countries.

FIPS-Africa is currently supporting teams in 16 African countries including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Haiti, Madagascar, Malawi, Senegal, Somalia, Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, Mozambique, and Tanzania. In total, this is around 50 organizations. The partners include the countries’ ministries of agriculture extension, non-profit organizations, seed companies, and national agricultural and other research organizations to ensure the VBA model is implemented by building on existing structures and success. The VBAs in these countries are already reaching over 500,000 farmers.

To find out more about partnering with FIPS-Africa Training Unit, contact our Training Manager Susan Ndungu at susan.n@fipsafrica.org


In Coastal Kenya, VBAs are supporting smallholder farmers to rear improved chicken and grow maize, beans, green grams, pigeon pea, vegetables, pawpaw, coconuts and cashew-nuts. [Mission Grow* – also see section on Youth Enterprise]


In Eastern Kenya VBAs are working to improve food security for smallholder farmers, and improved incomes through sales of surplus and cash crops. VBAs work with options like improving varieties of cereals, and legumes; crop nutrition; tillage methods; and crop/grain protection. The focus is on increased yields in maize, beans, cowpeas, green grams, pigeon peas, vegetables, oranges and mango. VBAs are also supporting smallholder farmers to raise improved chicken breeds. [Mission Grow* – also see section on Youth Enterprise]


In the Rift Valley VBAs are supporting access clean potato planting material through Apical Rooted Cuttings technology – transplants from tissue culture materials.


FIPS-Africa is partnering with the Nandi County Government to develop a decentralized potato seed multipliers (DSM) model.

In Uasin Gishu County, we are working with farmers to conduct trials on maize and beans using WonderGro soil conditioner.


In Western Kenya VBAs are increasing dairy production and growing staples including maize, sweet potatoes and arrowroot.

The VBAs are improving the health of dairy cattle with suppliers of acaricides, de-wormers and mineral salts. They are also improving nutrition by increasing the yields of fodder crops, and support farmers with their breeding programs through Fixed Time Artificial Insemination (FTAI). They also focus on soil health to diagnose plant culture problems, improve soil nutritional balance. [Mission Grow* – also see section on Youth Enterprise] 

Research in Western Kenya

FIPS is working with partners to assess a low-cost approach to fall armyworm control in maize, known as the soil method. This method is based on traditional farmer knowledge, which is now being rigorously tested [USAID Development Innovation Ventures-funded project].

What Works Where and for Whom (4Ws): Option for Agro-Ecological Intensification

The 4Ws project focuses on identifying, testing, adapting, and using options as defined by smallholder farmers. 4Ws utilizes Farmer Research Networks (FRNs). The FRNs are facilitated by FRN facilitators, who are able to share global knowledge, and are supported by FRN leads (proactive farmers). The focus of the FRN approach is for farmers’ knowledge to be co-created and shared. The approach empowers farmers to set the research agenda, design experiments, and collect data by following FRN principles including co-creation, negotiation, and networking.


25,744 youths and 99 youth groups

The FIPS-Africa youth program has a series of tested technologies that can create income for young people from small-scale farming enterprises. Using a combination of small grants, training and supported market access in selected agricultural enterprises mainly fodder, vegetables and poultry. These value chains work well because they require limited amounts of land and have a quick turnaround to sale of produce.

Meet Melque Ligulu an agripreneur from Western Kenya. [Mission Grow*]

*Mission Grow is an agriculture and food security project funded by the Seeds of Change Foundation to teach viable agricultural practices that enable farmers around the world to obtain food security and improved livelihoods for their families.