Mini-Farming book on Women Food Entrepreneurs: A case of Kenya and Burkina Faso

By Hannington Odame,

This book provides an all-inclusive approach to farming in small spaces, especially in urban, and peri-urban areas. The book contains food recipes of African indigenous vegetables and fish from the Lake Victoria region of Kenya.

The ‘Women Food Entrepreneurs book’, consisting of 8 chapters, is based on a research project undertaken by multidisciplinary experts between 2015-2019 in city slums in Kisumu, Kenya and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Women Food Entrepreneurs (WFEs) research project was implemented by social and natural scientists from the Netherlands, Germany, Kenya and Burkina Faso, as well as with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and community-based women groups. The project aimed to strengthen women’s food entrepreneurship in city slums based on an understanding of the interactions between soil quality, food production and marketing for vulnerable groups.

The book focuses on six themes comprising constraints on women food entrepreneurs, soil, water, and food quality interactions. It also integrates women’s knowledge on food production and processing to add value and enhance business skills. This chapter presents important ways to improve market access, contribute to the development of enabling policies for women food entrepreneurs as well as share lessons and best practices for upscaling (Ch 6). In efforts to contribute to development of the private sector, the book presents opportunities whereby women farmers can strengthen their position in the value chain and business knowledge and skills and networks.

In view of the findings, the book proposes recommendations for consideration in policy making processes. A few outstanding recommendations include first the need to recognize women food entrepreneurs’ role in the provision of fresh foods to city populations. Secondly, women food entrepreneurs’ innovative traditional and scientific knowledge in food production, processing and marketing should be valued, documented and upscaled. In this regard, this book highlights two stories of change. In the first one, a leading female trader champions the use of organic fertilizer among WFEs and subsequently gets nominated as a finalist for the Agrofood Broker of the Year Award. The second story highlights different policy moments in which some of the books’ recommendations have informed policy making by Kisumu County government.

Finally, the book presents the project’s impacts which can be upscaled. A notable impact is the ‘Connector-model’, which arose from the continued involvement of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs); the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE), Nairobi; Victoria Institute for Research on Environment and Development (VIRED) International, Kisumu; Ėtudes Actions Conseils (EAC) in Burkina Faso; Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Netherlands; Netherlands Agro, Food &Technology Centre (NAFTC) Africa; Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics(IBED), the Netherlands; Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Germany; Dresden University of Technology, Tharandt, Germany; BodemBergsma, the Netherlands; Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Burkina Faso; Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), and University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Netherlands. The model has successfully connected WFE groups with each other as well as with the public and the private through innovation and capacity building. The result is stronger synergy among the Women Food Entrepreneurs for an inclusive business model. The Annex, provides illustrations of food recipes of African indigenous vegetables and fish from the Lake Victoria region of Kenya. The food recipes are both English and dholuo.

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Research Programme Consortium Agricultural Policy Research in Africa

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Research Programme Consortium Agricultural Policy Research in Africa

APRA  in Partnership With Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE),



About the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Research Programme Consortium Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a new, five-year, Research Programme Consortium (RPC), includes regional hubs at the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE), Kenya among other partners in the region, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and will run from 2016-2022. The new programme will be based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK ( ) and will build on more than a decade of research and policy engagement work by the Future Agricultures Consortium ( ).

APRA aims to produce new information and insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in order to assess their impacts and outcomes on rural poverty, women’s and girl’s empowerment and food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Consortium has four interlinked objectives: 

  1. generating high-quality evidence on pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa, using a rigorous mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. 
  2. undertaking policy research on agricultural commercialisation to fill key evidence gaps and define policy options. 
  3. ensuring the sharing and uptake of research by a diverse range of stakeholders. 
  4. strengthening the capacity of the research team, and associated partner institutions, to deliver high-quality research and advice. 

Beginning in mid-2016, APRA is work in six focal countries across East, West and Southern Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe), representing both DFID priority countries and New Alliance countries.

The APRA Coordination Team is led by John Thompson, senior Research Fellow in the Rural Futures Cluster at IDS (Chief Executive Officer) and Ephraim Chirwa, Professor of Economics at the University of Malawi (Research Director), along with Regional Coordinators based in Ghana (Joseph Yaro), Kenya (Hannington Odame) and South Africa (Cyriaque Hakizimana and Ruth Hall), an Impact, Communications and Engagement Coordinator (Beatrice Ouma) and a Programme Manager (Oliver Burch). Together, they have extensive experience in leading complex, multi-country, cross-disciplinary, research programmes in Africa.

At the core of the APRA Consortium is a commitment to academic excellence, policy impact, stakeholder engagement and value for money, rooted in long-term partnerships and a solid regional base. In order to achieve its objectives, the programme will work in sites that examine diverse pathways of commercialisation (influenced by the relationship to markets and scales of operation) and linked to different types of commercialisation (e.g. estates, medium-scale commercial farming, contract farming and smallholder commercialisation). 

Consortium researchers will carry out in-depth studies in contrasting sites with varying levels of commercialisation intensity and longevity (i.e. established/ mature vs. recent/emerging sites of commercialisation) and different market connections and infrastructure. To analyse and understand these contrasts, the APRA researchers will employ a combination of quantitative (including quasi-experimental) and qualitative (including participatory and ethnographic) research methods and policy analysis tools to examine different types or forms of commercialisation, including comparing low-value staples, high-value horticulture, and industrial and export crops, and their differential outcome.


CABE in conjunction with Tegemeo Institute is organizing a two-day workshop on Strengthening Seed Systems and Market Development.

Seed systems in Africa south of the Sahara have been a central topic in the public discourse as part of wider conversations on policy options for agriculture and rural development. Although seed systems in the region have followed different development trajectories, they do seem to be affected by political economy, farming system, agroecological, and market development factors that policymakers and stakeholders must address if the systems are to thrive. Political economy issues appear to shape the debate, including limited support for agricultural research, restrictive regulations and inadequate capacity of regulatory agencies, and weak vertical and horizontal coordination among different key actors. Political economy refers to actors and coalitions of actors with competing perspectives, interests, and resources shaping seed policy change processes in each country and for each crop (see Hassena et al. (2016) and Alemu (2011) on Ethiopia). Policy and regulatory reforms are purported to facilitate increased production, delivery, and uptake of improved seeds and technologies. Influencing government agencies to initiate the review of existing and enact new policies involves many stakeholders including a range of seed industry players such as regulatory agencies, parliament, agricultural technical groups, government policy directorates, public and private research agencies and seed associations.

Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development of Egerton University and Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) in partnership with International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) conducted a study between June and October 2019 to assess the pace and dynamics of policy change and the factors that affect the development of maize and potato seed systems and of markets in Kenya. The study involved a review of key policy, regulatory, and strategy documents relevant to seed system and market development in the country, with a focus on the progress made in strengthening maize and potato seed systems and markets and political economy factors that have influenced policy adoption and outcomes. The review was augmented with information from key informant interviews and focus group discussions with a wide range of actors in the respective seed systems.

The workshop will be at Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi on 19th and 20th July 2022



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