Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition (BFN) Market Linkages Project
In Western Kenya, cases of malnutrition, stunting and underweight are common especially for children under five years. This has been attributed to low purchasing power and over-reliance on starchy foods. Yet, Western Kenya is rich in agricultural biodiversity which would provide a gateway to dietary diversity for food and nutritional security. Africa Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) offers such biodiversity which can be exploited not only for nutrition but also economic gains. But this value chain has been under-developed and un-exploited due to production and marketing constraints faced by farmers.
The BFN market linkages project was implemented with the aim of empowering farmer groups to supply markets for nutrient rich foods. An adapted Farmer Business School (FBS) model which applied varied approaches to learning enhanced knowledge sharing among target groups. A total of 547 beneficiaries (151 male, 386 female and 119 youth) from the 25 farmer groups participated in the project. Farmers are better organized, undertake market research and have capacity to respond to new market opportunities. Five farmer groups managed to enter into contractual arrangements with 14 institutional markets comprised of 13 schools and one hospital. The farmer groups developed 23 business plans, which inform their production, financing and marketing plans throughout the year. Farmers are now willing to invest more resources in ALV production and marketing –which will translate into better incomes and livelihoods. Also, most participating households understand and appreciate the nutritional value of ALVs and the significance of a balanced diet.
The project was funded by Bioversity International (https://www.bioversityinternational.org/) through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (https://www.aciar.gov.au/).