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New initiative to boost agribusiness

  • By Pamela Okutoyi
  • July 26, 2021
  • 0 Comment

One of the main challenges faced by SMEs is access to markets and the creation of sustainable and strategic marketing networks. 

Kiambu County Government has partnered with two agencies to help local farmers reach consumers and recoup losses. This is after a bad agricultural year where losses were experienced. The County will be partnering with the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre and the Nairobi Farmers Market. The partnership will see a harvest festival – a shopping spree campaign dedicated to agricultural producers in Kiambu County and its neighbors created.

Dubbed Kiambu County Farmers Harvest Festival, the event seeks to bring together farmers, traders, service providers, stakeholders, and other players across the various value chains located within the Kiambu business hub and county, opening a window to create market linkages amongst them.

The harvest festival has been slated from the 30th July to 1st August 2021 at the Nairobi Farmers Market along Kiambu road.  During the festival, AgriBiz clients will have the opportunity to broadcast and exhibit their farm produce to potential consumers from Nairobi and beyond.

The AgriBiz Programme is an economic empowerment program that primarily targets rural and peri-urban youth and women who are underemployed and lack the financial resources and know-how to create viable, sustainable businesses. Sponsored by the European Union and Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) to a tune of KShs 5.1 billion, it aims to promote sustainable exploitation of natural resources by encouraging appropriate agribusiness practices. To achieve this goal, the program has to address four main hurdles, among them market access. The NFM seeks to create, facilitate and foster market linkages for these clients.

“One of the main business challenges faced by micro, small and medium enterprises and start-up businesses is access to markets and the creation of sustainable and strategic marketing networks. As part of the program objectives, KCIC, through the AgriBiz program, seeks to create, facilitate, and foster market linkages for its clients. The NFM festival is a great way towards ensuring we meet this goal,” Dr. Edward Mungai, KCIC CEO, says.

The harvest festival will feature close to one hundred farmers enrolled in the AgriBiz programme, exhibiting and selling their products and services to the public and meeting potential consumers and investors. According to the event organizers, the harvest festival is set to create a pipeline of market opportunities for the AgriBiz clients by bringing onboard diverse product off-takers. It will also position NFM as a potential buyer of the product and services from the farmers.

“Farmers work so hard to cultivate crops, raise animals humanely and harvest the bounty for everyone to enjoy. The NFM Festival plays a crucial role in the farm-to-fork pathway by providing a place for us to directly connect and build relationships with customers and consumers,” Jeff Mundia, NFM General Manager says. “Store owners (also farmers) at the NFM do not produce everything they market, and as such, these store owners wish to get reliable sources to supplement what they sell at the NFM. I believe this festival is a great way to provide market access for the farmers in the AgriBiz program.”

The three-day event is well planned and thought out to ensure maximum value to both farmers and consumers. 30th July is targeted to be the day farmers come to set up them exhibition/selling booths and familiarize themselves with the market as they begin to sell their goods and services. 31st July is the primary day. Everyone is welcome to buy and interact with the local farmers at their stations and walk away with a thing or two. 1st July will be the final day where farmers will continue to market their products and services to shoppers at the NFM.

Joining residents from Kiambu County and its surroundings will be officials from NFM, KCIC, EU, and Danida and government leaders to support local farmers. Residents in Kiambu county and its environs will be served with lots of discounts and entertainment. These bustling scenes at the festival will culminate into massive sales for farmers as consumers walk away with healthy and fresh farm products.

The NFM harvest festival is a great way to support local farmers and businesses. On top of shopping at the stores, it is also another excellent opportunity to get some super fresh fruits and vegetables and locally raised meats, farm-fresh eggs, and a variety of fresh produce. With great discounts, dance, and music presented at the festival, we are all encouraged to make our way to the Nairobi Farmers Market on any of the three days of the festival.

The festival is powered by Nairobi Farmers Market, Kiambu County Government, and Kenya Climate Innovation Center through the AgriBiz Programme funded by the European Union (EU) and Danish International Development Agency (Danida).

This article was first published on the Standard Newspaper