The success of the AMPATH collaboration is dependent upon great partnerships. There’s even a book about AMPATH’s effectiveness. I have spent most of my time in the field walking with AMPATH farmer cooperative members and AMPATH partners, who each bring something different to the discussion.
Farmers bring their knowledge of the land they farm, often passed from parents to children over generations. The Corteva Agriscience™ team brings expertise in quality maize inputs, in seeds and crop protection. Amiran comes with its vast array of crop solution products and horticulture inputs and knowledge. WFP and Cargill bring expertise in helping farmers to access markets.
As we all work and walk together, we will not only help farmers grow crops more successfully, but we will help farmers grow their communities as they grow cooperatives that can develop into profitable self-sustaining businesses.
What have AMPATH Agriculture partners been focused on recently?
In Western Kenya, the maize harvest season is quickly approaching. It is midseason for onions. The tomato planting season is just beginning. Amiran and Pannar both sponsored demonstration plots this year, which are fields that can be used to teach, experiment, and develop best practices. Partners are providing farmers with quality inputs. Inputs are any physical component needed to farm, like seeds, fertilizers, or pesticides. Our partners are providing high quality seeds, such as the PAN691 maize, Amiran Russet F1, and Neptune F1 onions that are suited to the Kenyan landscape and climate. The support doesn’t stop at inputs.
Partners are also providing the farmers with extension. This means that partners are providing the farmers with information of best farming practices. When the farmers needed to transplant their onions, Amiran was there to give training and assist in transplanting. For some of the crops that were attacked by pests, there were discussions on crop protection options and proper application. This extension work and the conversation between the farmers and partners is so important for the success of these demos and progress forward.
"Lead farmers" are those who host a demo plot. They have taken a risk in doing this, but they do it so they can learn from these partners. Their goal is to not only help their own farms, but to learn everything they can so they can share the knowledge and skills they gain with the farmers in their cooperative, and the rest of the community.
The hard work will continue, but I have learned that when farmers and AMPATH partners walk together, we will go far.