A technical team from MARKUP Kenya has started its mission to the counties in a bid to officially introduce the program, discuss possible partnership and collaboration opportunities. The team, comprises experts from UNIDO, led by the project’s National Coordinator Maina Karuiru and Knowledge Management Expert Christine Misiko. Also in the team are representatives from the government, including National Focal Point, as well as from the private sector.
In his presentation at Nakuru County, Karuiru pointed out that MARKUP is looking at areas of partnership, adding that the program aims at creating impact by improving livelihoods and enhancing market access. In Nakuru, the project focuses on snow peas as well as herbs and spices.
Speaking to the team, Nakuru Deputy Governor Dr. Erick Korir called for need for direct market linkage among farmers, noting that brokers often take advantage of farmers’ hard work to make money. He added that most farmers struggle with planting materials, adding that in addition to capacity building, there is need to have access to the same. Dr. Korir called for need for farmers to work in groups so that they can meet the market demands in terms of quantities and varieties.
His sentiments were echoed by the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr. Immaculate Maina, who said it would be important to form a platform for Nakuru herbs and spices farmers. Dr. Immaculate noted that most farmers are smallholder and produce individually, adding that such a platform would bring them together so that they can produce and market jointly.
“We have a chance to gain from the MARKUP project. Herbs and spices is one of the sector that are not organized, and we hope to be able to organize it,” said Dr. Immaculate, adding that the county hopes to be able to develop a strategy for this sector. She added that while the county has vast agricultural land with high potential, farmers need to be linked to the market.
Fresh produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC) CEO Okisegere Ojepat noted that the supply chain needs to be consistent in meeting market demand in terms of quantity and quality. His counterpart from private sector and CEO at Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) Hosea Machuki said they are ready to provide market, for produce that meets standards. He added that it is easier when small holder farmers work in groups, as it eases the process of engaging them as contractual basis.
MARKUP Kenya aims at promoting food safety and standards, and enhancing market access for selected fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices at the local, regional and international markets.
From Nakuru, the county heads to Uasin Gishu. The mission is set for all the 12 counties under the MARKUP program.