5 March 2024

5 March 2024Vegetables grow income for families

Food on the table, money in the bank 

The problem

The financial turmoil caused by the war in Ukraine, COVID and climate change hit young people hard. Seventy per cent of Kenyans are under 30 and the problems they face are interlinked – a lack of employment opportunities, financial difficulties, drug and alcohol abuse.

What we did

With the support of long standing supporter The Evan Cornish Foundation, we worked with 10 youth groups in Migori. Ace Africa and local government officials trained members to improve yields and profits. They identified crops in highest demand – cabbage, okra and red onions – and researched high yield drought resistant varieties.

Red onion ready for harvest

The young farmers also learned how to protect crops from bad weather, and reduce losses post harvest by producing dried vegetable products. They invested in the project themselves, sharing with Ace the costs of seeds to start the project.

The impact: short-term and long-term

  • average crop loss due to disease or weather less than 5 per cent
  • income from cabbage, onions and okra in year 1 totaled £16,000 (total project cost £7,681)
  • increased incomes lead to better food security for the farmers and their families
  • linking the groups to government agriculture officer ensuring long term support and advice

Impressed local government donates land to boost production

Anthony Okoti, Ace Africa Kenya Country Director, explained how working with local government was essential to long-term change. “The hard work and commitment of the young farmers did not go unnoticed. The Department of Agriculture allocated each group seven acres of government land to expand production and further increase their incomes.”

New funding of locally grown solutions to poverty and food insecurity

In rural Bungoma, Western Kenya, 59.2% of the population live below the poverty line. Food insecurity affects 43% of the population. The Charles Hayward Foundation and Ace Africa are starting a new project in 2024 to reduce poverty and food insecurity, by matching local farmers to shortages of certain vegetables in local markets.

Vegetable sellers are seeing rising demand for beetroot, okra and French beans. But with very limited supply, produce was having to come from up to 400kms away. They asked if Ace Africa could link them with local farmers. At the same time female farmers were asking Ace Africa to help identify business opportunities with the potential quick returns.

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The solution is a project that will provide agribusiness training to five women’s groups. They will learn business planning, planting schedules, pest and disease management, harvesting and packing. Seeds will be provided to kick start production.

A total of 100 women will have what they need to grow and market these highly sought after, quick growing crops. This will mean more nutritional food for families and vital income improving household to boost economic security – the value of economic independence for the women involved can’t be underestimated.

With an average household of five, this simple project aims to change the lives of 500 adults and children. It starts this month. We will let you know what happens next!