Skip to main content

High farm output in 2020 is a defining moment for smallholder farmers in Kenya

High farm output in 2020 is a defining moment for smallholder farmers in Kenya

Despite COVID-19, 2020 has been a very generous year with expected high farm output for smallholder farmers in Kenya. It is estimated that cereals output for this year’s main season will increase by a whopping 20% (up to 4.2 Million tons yearly maize output-FAO) majorly due to the favorable weather conditions notably the above-average long rains. The year 2020 has proven that a highly productive farm cannot be attended to using manual tools or human muscles. African farmers use hands tools for two main reasons:

  1. Less farm productivity, hence, not labor demanding,
  2. Extremely small sizes of land.

As I write this piece, the main harvesting season for cereals is underway in most parts of Kenya and farmers are expecting record-breaking high yields (though still far below the land potential). In Kenya, Nov-Dec is a season for short rains, which means that farmers have a short window to harvest their grains before the onset of the short rains, which have started to drizzle already. This is a big scare to farmers who have not yet harvested their grains, including my mum who has 1.5 Ha of ready-to-harvest wheat.

With too much to harvest, my mum has been looking for a combine harvester for the past two weeks but all in vain. Another neighbor has 5 hectares of highly productive wheat. Both are expecting around 1.5 tons per hectare this year, which is way high compared to 900Kg per hectare last year. Nevertheless, our neighbor told me that she regrets planting too much wheat because now she cannot manage to harvest all of it manually. She has to rely on combine harvester which are expensive and hard to get.

Maize has also done well this year and maize farmers may also find themselves in a similar situation. Even though Kenyan farmers are used to harvesting maize manually, this year it might be business unusual because of two things:

 1. Record high productions that will demand more labor, and

2. Schools have reopened and children who assist parents with farm labor will be in school during this harvest period. In other years, schools close from mid-November till January.

Harvesting is just one problem. How farmers will handle the produce after harvesting in another problem. Most smallholder farmers in Kenya have no safe storage facilities that are large enough to handle the increased production this year. It is, therefore, almost obviously expected that post-harvest losses might be massive this year coupled with very low market prices.

2020 has therefore proven that increased farm productivity alone is not beneficial in any way to smallholder farmers in Kenya. As experts, we need to think and offer a full line of solutions and equipment that allows farmers to increase productivity, harvest, and store their produce, and where possible to connect them to market opportunities.

If farmers do not reap the full benefits of the excellent year 2020, I tend to think that they will become hesitant to invest in their farms in the future. They will desire to harvest “just enough” because when they harvest more, they lose more.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where to get Wambugu apples and how to grow them

The story of farming Wambugu apples in Kenya People like eating apples, but in Kenya, imported apples are very expensive and farmers are now looking for an alternative to grow apples locally, and the farming of Wambugu apples has excited many farmers in Kenya and abroad. In this article, we have gathered and reviewed some information from Wambugu Apple farm as well as from some farmers who have been growing the Wambugu apple variety in Kenya. Read also:  Dairy Goat farming with Wambugu Farmer It is said that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, but what if you could venture into the business of farming apples and keep poverty away? Think about it this way: A huge percentage of apples consumed in Kenya, almost 99% are imported from South Africa, the Middle East region, and the Mediterranean countries majorly Egypt. The price of one piece of apple fruit in Kenya goes for around $ 0.5. One kilogram of the imported apples go for up to 10 dollars. The price is very inhibitive especially th

Dairy Goat farming with Wambugu Farmer

Dairy goat farming step by step by Wambugu Farmer Dairy goat farming is an upcoming lucrative agribusiness venture, not only because of the huge prices that goat milk attracts but also because of the well-known health benefits of goat milk. My name is Wambugu Farmer, and I will take you through a few outlines that I have learnt about dairy goat farming during the past few years. I am not a direct dairy goat farmer, but my parents are. I visit them regularly and over the past five years that they have been practicing this farming, we have learnt a lot of lessons surrounding dairy goats that I am going to share with you in this article. Read also: Wambugu Apple Farm in Nyeri Kenya Watch Youtube Video:  WAMBUGU Apples Farm If you are looking forward to start dairy goats on a large scale or small scale farming, there will be something for you to learn from this article. My parents are small-scale dairy goat farmers doing around 6 goats at a time. They started this project because of th

How to make a kitchen garden in Kenya: Cone kitchen garden

  Simple steps to make a kitchen garden in Kenya This is an opportunity for every rural family to make a kitchen garden in Kenya. Just as the name indicates, a cone kitchen garden is a type of garden that resembles a cone, like that of an ice-cream holder. It consists of arranging soil in a conical shape above the ground to create more space for crop growing. Cone kitchen garden is efficient in that it allows for mixed cropping since different species of crop are grown on different layers. Materials and procedure of constructing a Cone kitchen garden in Kenya: Polythene sheet : It should be the heavy one, commonly called the dam-liner in local hardware. Alternatively, you can use old circular containers that have different circumferences in a manner that they can be concentric. Site identification : Chose a site that receives sufficient direct sunlight throughout the day and well drained. Mark the middle point of the garden site, and arrange the containers/polythene in layers, "