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US inputs firm to scale up its work in Kenya

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Farmers harvest their maize crop after using hybrid seed and fertiliser for the first time. US based fertiliser firm plans to work with 100,000 farmers across the value chain when it scales up its operations in Kenya.

Farmers harvest their maize crop after using hybrid seed and fertiliser for the first time. US based fertiliser firm plans to work with 100,000 farmers across the value chain when it scales up its operations in Kenya.

US based fertiliser firm plans to work with 100,000 farmers across the value chain when it scales up its operations in Kenya.

International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) said its operations will involve newer technologies with an eye on smallholder growers and agribusinesses.

According to IFDC director for East and Southern Africa Rob Groot, the agriculture research and development organisation aims to improve productivity and incomes among peasant farmers.

He said the non-government organisation priorities in Kenya are to boost farm incomes and livelihoods by enhancing soil fertility, promoting the use of agro-inputs, building the capacity of farmer organisations and strengthening input and output markets.

“By 2017 we aim to reach over 200 companies and 100,000 farmers. We act as a bridge connecting buyers to sellers, helping farmers’ groups to access new markets and new technologies,” said Mr Groot.

The firm’s operations became visible in Kenya in the 90s during the fertiliser market liberalisation and training programmes but its portfolio has since expanded to soil and crop management, input policy, output markets, agribusiness development and other areas.

Among the new technologies the group plans to implement here include smart subsidies meant to encourage farmers to experiment, and invest in and new inputs including fertilisers. The programme involves use of vouchers to increase the “purchasing power” of carefully selected households.

-Nation

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