The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has trained 50 extension officers in Kisumu County to develop value chains in the area.
Through the agency’s Farm Business School (FBS), the extension officers have been trained and retooled on fish and aquaculture, poultry and green leafy vegetables value chains.
Assistant FAO Representative, Hamisi Williams said the beneficiaries are expected to equip farmers with the requisite skills to make their enterprises profitable.
This, he added, was necessary to enable them to produce quality products along the three value chains to respond to the current global market demands.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony held at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu on Thursday, Williams said the officers drawn from both private and public sectors will implement specific programmes with great emphasis on sustainable aggregation and collective marketing.
“We expect that the officers graduating today under the FBS will be able to train other farmers with a target of 40 per Trainer of Trainee (TOT),” he noted.
This, he added, will see the concept cascaded to the grassroots level to benefit more farmers in the lakeside county.
Farmers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and floods, he said, were being targeted by the programme to ensure that they recover from the negative economic effects of the catastrophes.
“We aim to build resilience of the farmers so that they are able to survive should there be other calamities due to climate change,” he said.
Speaking during the same occasion, Kisumu County Executive Member (CECM) in charge of agriculture Gilchrist Okuom lauded the partnership between FAO and the county government saying the extension officers will play a critical role in developing the value chain in the three areas.
More officers, he added, will be taken through the same programme and deployed across the seven sub-counties in the area.
“They have been equipped with knowledge and skills to train others. They are going to the Sub-Counties with the knowledge to train others,” he said.
The extension officers under poultry value chain, he said have been trained on disease management and business skills development.
“We want our farmers to do agriculture as a business. We train them on developing business plans, gross margins, and establishing what type of agriculture is profitable,” he said.
By Lorine Awino and Evangeline Mola