It is that time of the year when farmers harvest their bounty from the farms after months and years of hard work. Unfortunately, amidst the nationwide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, farmers have been experiencing unprecedented difficulties in selling their produce on time and at fair prices. The gap between producers and consumers is still too wide, but new programs are proving that they can make a difference. The launch of the Harvest Festival, the biggest shopping spree for farmers, is one such initiative created to develop and promote market linkages between farmers and consumers.
During the festival, smallholder farmers from Kiambu County will come together to sell various food items – cultivated and wild edibles, traditional snacks and tea, and hand-woven textiles during the harvest festival. The Festival is organized by Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, (KCIC) and the Kiambu County Government will be hosted at the Nairobi Farmers Market from 30th July to 1st August.
The Harvest Festival is an initiative by KCIC under the AgriBiz programme to promote local, clean and healthy food while supporting the livelihood of small and marginal farmers under the AgriBiz programme. The Festival will be organized periodically in different locations of the country where the AgriBiz programme has been launched. Farmers will have the opportunity to bring various food products from their farms and handicrafts to sell directly to consumers.
KCIC has, over the years of its engagement with farmers through the AgriBiz programme, been advocating and promoting local, sustainable and climate-resilient food and farming systems. AgriBiz is actively involved in creating awareness amongst the producers and consumers on food and nutrition, facilitating market linkages for women and young farmers, re-orienting young people to local food, and supporting traditional seeds through community hubs that enable knowledge access and exchange.
The Harvest Festival promotes zero plastic packaging, indigenous food products, tapping into the ever-growing demand for organic products, among other things. Initiatives such as the Harvest Festival are efforts to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers and to ensure the availability and accessibility of quality, seasonal, organic healthy food and more.
The Festival will strictly adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines, such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. In addition, farmers will set up booths to showcase and sell their fresh farm produce to all those present at the NFM at significantly discounted prices.