On the sunny Saturday of 28th February 2015, AGRONET organized the first ever Farmer’s Workshop at the Beach Restaurant in Githunguri town. A total 37 participants representing various stakeholder interests converged for this session; 27 of these were farmers, 4 were representatives from the dairy processors and the rest was the team from AGRONET
This forum was aimed at sharing the findings from a previous baseline conducted by AGRONET, and also cultivating dialogue amongst farmers and other partners around a number of issues pertinent to the dairy business in Githunguri. Dialogue was centered around farmers finding solutions for some of the challenges they faced such as limited access of information on new farming methods, breeding and low milk gate prices. The farmers were particularly adept at suggesting solutions too, and some of these suggestions included enhancing access to quality and affordable feeds and access to information on dairy farming and breeding.
The session also yielded spontaneity and creativity! For example, with the help of AGRONET facilitators, a quick financial tool that highlights costs, revenues and profitability from dairy farming was developed. Here, farmers supplied information and figures on expenses they incur in farming, and these were presented in a chart, and then followed by discussions on creative ways to reduce the costs and enhance profitability, such as bulk-buying and enjoying discounts. This was aimed at sharing with farmers how to make better business decisions and judgments. We were so impressed that the farmers knew their numbers so well!
Towards the end of this forum, the AGRONET payments and information system was introduced to the farmers, and many were excited at the possibilities and opportunities this system could offer, especially on how the system would make their operations easier because of faster access to payments among other services. In response to the findings from this workshop, AGRONET’s intent to offer a comprehensive training programme as part of the package to farmers will address an important challenge faced by farmers. The farmers have already expressed willingness and excitement to access more information that they can use to improve their yield and incomes.
The workshop was concluded by enthusiastic comments from the participants, and some of the participants highlighted the willingness of the farmers to have more engagement sessions. Evaluation of the workshop by the participants was positive and progress over the next will indicate the impact of the project for future perspective. The high level of participation and outpouring of interest by the participants underscored the importance of the objectives that had been set. Indeed this workshop marked an unprecedented collaboration between AGRONET and the stakeholders, by bringing them together to exchange ideas, share expertise and hopefully the start of a great relationship.
On subsequent blog posts, we will go deeper into the topics discussed during this workshop. Don’t miss out!