The future of agriculture lies in value addition and good marketing strategies
Prices of agricultural produce continue to be very low affecting the income of small-scale farmers across Africa. One main reason for the low prices is that farmers sell their produce in raw form. If only farmers managed to add value to their produce, they could earn very good prices, up to four times what they currently earn when they sell their produce unprocessed.
The attitude that farmers cannot be able to add value to what they produce since they lack the necessary technology is a big disincentive that must not be entertained. All stakeholders in the agricultural sector need to mount a big campaign to remove this line of thinking by policy makers and even among our farmers and embark on serious campaign to impart the necessary skills that will enable small-scale farmers to do value addition in all farming areas.
There exists many simple technologies that farmers can be trained on) as a way of ensuring that they are able to add value to their produce before taking them to the market. One such technology is simple drying of fruits and vegetables. This not only allows them to compete with established processors, but also prolongs the shelf life of the farm produce. The farmers can sell these when the market prices are favourable.
Right now a lot of development funds are being channeled to county governments in Kenya. The major economic activity in most counties is farming. This means that apart from provision of other services such as health, education and infrastructure, a considerable part of these budgets can be used to train and equip farmers through well -organized groups or SACCOs in order to improve their productivity and earnings. The devolved governments can use other players to train and provide farmers with processing equipment for various farm products that can then be well packaged and sold in the local and international markets.
Through its farmer communication channels, BvAT will continually provide information on how farmers can do value addition to increase their earnings and contribute more to the country’s industrial development through processing of farm products.