A group of potato farmers in Nakuru Country has outwitted the exploitative brokers by joining a marketing association that enables them to sell their produce directly to various markets across the East Africa region at profitable prices.
The Chairperson of the giant Nyota Potato Group, Mrs Salome Mwangi said since they joined the Farm to Market Alliance (FTMA) three years ago, their lives have changed and the majority of their members have constructed brick houses.
She said the FTMA has assisted the group to build a network of rural agricultural entrepreneurs known as Farmer Service Centers (FSCs), which bridge the gap between farmers and key-value chain actors, right from the farm to the market.
Mrs Mwangi said since they combined several tiny groups in Kuresoi South and formed their FSCs they have built trust of all the potato value-chain actors including financial institutions that have taken time to train them on record-keeping plus prudent utilization of loans.
She added that before they joined the FTMA they did not understand the importance of larger and transparent groups in achieving economies of scale that leads to aggregated demand.
However, she said the low level of trust among farmers and value-chain actors have enabled the brokers to exploit them for a long time and denied them support from banks and insurance companies.
Apart from the FTMA assisting them to have direct access to markets they also provide them with farm inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides that have led to increased production per acre.
She was speaking to KNA today during an interview at Nyota Potato Group farm in Kuresoi South.
By Veronica Bosibori