Blog •  2/27/2019

Corteva Grows Food Security: My Arrival in Kenya

Written By Ghulam Mustafa 
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Kenya is a diverse country, filled with beautiful variety of landscapes and wildlife. The culture is equally rich, welcoming expats (visitors) with open arms and cheerful smiles. My first impression is that this culture will welcome me, and Kenya’s people will allow me to work alongside them to contribute my share to reduce global hunger.

I am here in Kenya on behalf of Corteva Agriscience™, to help improve food security through a partnership with AMPATH.

During the period between selection and arrival in Eldoret, I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions! I was excited about the possibility of working closely with Kenyan farmers to improve their farms’ productivity & profitability. I was anxious about living far from my family especially about being apart from my four year old daughter, Afnan.

Erica Duffy, Corteva Agriscience’s previous fellow, had shared a lot of information about travelling to Kenya and living there, but I still felt as though I was venturing into the unknown.

My first meeting with Erica was held at Paul’s Café, a delicious spot in front of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. We met here before my connecting flight to Eldoret. Erica is an amazing lady and a great predecessor who spent six months in Eldoret as food security fellow, from July to December of 2018.

For the next 10 days, Erica and I worked together. She shared everything she could about her professional and social experiences She not only guided me about practical things like how to live in the AMPATH cooperative housing, “IU House/Hilltop,” but she also introduced me to almost all the key persons whom a fellow would interact during his/her stay in Eldoret. She showed me Chandaria, where the AMPATH office is located. We visited Chelanga, where fellows share office space with health staff for day to day operations.

I learned the key responsibilities of being a fellow. I will be working very closely with population health staff on current ongoing projects. I will also be designing new projects with an objective of improving farmers’ productivity and profitability. I will be part of already planned demonstration plots of corn, potatoes and onions, which are used to showcase best agronomic practices to local farmers.

I met many stakeholders with whom I will collaborate. I met people from organizations including USAID, CABI, Heifers international and Hello tractors. I also visited several cooperatives and farmers with Erica to understand cooperatives’ operational models and our role in their improvement. I can’t deny the excitement I feel at having this feeling of comradery and partnership with so many good people, all working together to achieve our objective of farmer trainings and scaling up agricultural technologies to small farmers.

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