The departments of Trade and Agriculture in Laikipia County have embarked on training local entrepreneurs and farmers on enterprise development in a bid to assist them find better markets for their products.
The week-long training conducted in Nanyuki town attracted 40 local innovators, farmers and agriculture officials and they were taught on diverse business concepts such as business plan writing, contract farming, customer relationships and segments, value proposition, identifying markets and cost structuring.
Speaking at the close of the training on Saturday, the County Executive Committee (CEC) for Trade, Tourism and Cooperatives, Biwott Tirop challenged the participants to adopt modern marketing concepts like proper branding of products and creating market linkages to widen their client base.
“We cannot continue relying on the archaic ways of doing business, it iss time we adopt new strategies in line with global trends that will propel local entrepreneurs to the next level in doing business,” Tirop told the participants.
The Agriculture CEC, Dr. Lucy Murugi urged the participants to embrace new farming techniques such as value addition of products and lowering the cost of production for better earnings.
“Currently milk prices have dropped drastically to as low as Sh. 17 per litre due to oversupply yet the production cost of the same litre is Sh. 28 if our dairy farmers don’t lower the cost of milk production to at least Sh. 10 per litre they might end up abandoning the venture,” Dr. Murugi said.
She noted one of the reasons why dairy farming was becoming an increasingly expensive venture for most farmers was due to the high cost of animal feeds and urged the participants to adopt locally available animal food supplements to ease the burden of fully relying on commercial animal feeds.
“We are encouraging farmers to make their own high-value silage to feed their animals and also sell the surplus or store it for use later. This is one of the way the cost of milk production can be brought down,” the CEC added.
Murugi said that her department was linking local producers with markets outside the County such as through encouraging contract farming with big businesses such as supermarkets and other companies.
A participant, David Burii who is an innovator said that the training has helped him widen his scope of doing business and hoped that he would be able to create more jobs at his enterprise where he manufactures maize drying machines for sale to farmers.
“Am looking forward to creating at least 30 additional jobs by employing more youth at my workshop since I am confident of accessing bigger markets for my products,” Burii said.
Last year, Laikipia County government trained and later awarded 10 local innovators Sh. 800,000 to boost their ventures. At the same time Sh. 9.7 million was disbursed to farmers’ cooperative societies in form of loans repayable in two years for value addition of agricultural products to access bigger markets.
By Martin Munyi