A Kenyan Farmer’s Perspective

Report
from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Published on 19 May 2011 View Original

I am a small scale farmer. I am also a communications practitioner with the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) in Africa, which works to achieve sustainable, agricultural growth through smallholder farms.

I recently travelled to my village in Western Kenya to coordinate the planting process on my farm. What is usually a relatively smooth and simple process became a nightmare. I could not find any seed in any of the shops and despite queuing for long-hours with thousands of other farmers, could not find appropriate maize hybrid seed to buy.

The frustration amongst both small and large scale farmers in my home town was palpable! None of us could believe what was happening, and the government’s response, that unexpected demand had exceeded supply, did little to calm our nerves! In the end, we were forced to purchase a variety that is not suitable for our ecological zone and now, we are waiting with our hearts in our mouths and fingers crossed, hoping to get a reasonable yield.

These are the challenges small farmers in developing nations face across the globe. Here’s the good news, though. If these problems can be addressed efficiently, by supporting small farmers like myself, we will make tremendous progress towards reducing hunger and poverty.

That’s why I – and AGRA – welcome the foundation’s campaign to raise awareness about how important it is to invest in small farmers through their Small Farmers Are the Answer Challenge. You can help small farmers in the developing world and contribute to reducing hunger and poverty by sharing your creative message of support.