Growing fruit with passion
Oslo, August 07, 2013
Yara has partnered an initiative with Technoserve in Kenya, to boost productivity and alleviate the poverty of smallholder farmers. The project develops cash crop production units, in this case for passion fruit, via a range of support factors. The approach has reached 10,000 farmers so far.
James Craske (second from left) and the Tulus family, with Yara's Isaac Muge (fourth from left) and Vitalis Wafula (third from right)
"Yara trains the Technoserve staff on crop nutrition and Technoserve provides extension services to the farming community in western Kenya, including best practice production techniques and business training," explains James Craske, Director Marketing and Business Development Business Unit (BU) Africa. "This enables the establishment of Marketing Centers, managed and staffed by local farmers and offering technical advice and access to inputs."
The aim is to expand across Kenya as the demand for passion fruit is high, for fresh market as well as juice production, in Kenya and Uganda. Ultimately the crop will also be exported.
Inclusive approach improves smallholder livelihood and food production
"The passion fruit work we are supporting is an example of value chain partnership resulting in an improved livelihood for the farmers involved," says Vitalis Wafula, Senior Agronomist Yara East Africa, of the project. "Most of the farming families linked in were used to growing maize - with mixed economic results to say the least. Now, by focusing on a cash crop like passion fruit with a high crop value index, the returns are significant."
"Due to the importance of the crop's yield and quality in reaching high returns, the farmers are open to good quality crop nutrition inputs," Vitalis continues. "The program we have in place is YaraMila Winner and YaraLiva Nitrabor throughout the season. The results are clear to see."
"The quality of the family farm we visited was excellent," says James. "What was really impressive was the involvement of the whole family in the business, with expansion to double the production area already underway."
"The sustainable Marketing Centers being developed are of real benefit to the community and the use of Yara products means it's a success story for all involved," James adds. "We have a long way to go to reach scale, but if the smiles and warmth shown by the Tulus family are anything to go by we have really helped create impact."