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Groundbreaking forum links small and medium agro-enterprises for profit and food security

09/12/2013 9:30 - 

Market linkages between small and medium agro-enterprises - their customers and suppliers - are key to boosting profitability and creating markets for producers. This in turn helps them to increase their incomes; ensuring food security as well as their long term sustainability.

Discussing challenges and opportunities was the subject of a “match-making” platform involving buyers, suppliers, and financiers held on 14 and 15 November in Nairobi, Kenya by the Agribusiness Support to Smallholders (AbSS), an FAO project in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

"The hopes and aspirations of Kenyan people will never be acquired unless we embrace agribusiness," declared David Tim Richiu, an agricultural economist and Chief Executive Officer of Farm Concern International..

Kenyan retailer, Charles Vuta, highlighted the importance of supporting producers as they are encouraged to make consistent deliveries of products with the required quality standards and hygiene.

"To become a supplier with our supermarket, products need to meet the customers’ demands so we encourage suppliers to be responsible in delivering their orders," he noted.  This means that before products can be supplied to supermarkets in Kenya, a certification and barcode are required from the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

“Omena” a side dish for poverty eradication and women’s income-generation

Rachel M’migangao Omollo a representative from Busia county and Coordinator of Poverty Eradication for Development, a local NGO, reported on a programme for promoting ready to eat Omena snacks as a contribution to ensuring food security.

Endemic to Lake Victoria, Omena, a local name, is a 3 inch long silvery sardine-like fish that is full of calcium because it is small enough to eat whole and has the same nutritional value as larger fish.

Omena, according to Rachel Omollo, plays a significant role in the livelihoods of more than 4 million people in terms of employment, income and provision of nutrition thereby ranking as the most important fish in terms of its contribution to the local and East African regional economy. In Busia County,  dried Omena product have advantages over other fish species due to its long shelf life, divisibility into smaller portions making it affordable, and its high nutritive value.

“I decided to teach women in our local port how to prepare and sell ready-to-eat Omena so that consumers don’t have to go to the trouble of preparing the fish. We plan to not only package a whole bag of Omena enough for a single meal, but also to prepare a small snack bag that will sell for less than a dollar. Eventually we will deliver this to schools and hospitals to be served as a side dish,” she adds.

She affirms that the ready-to-eat Omena has generated and seized growth opportunities in the County,  effectively contributing to Kenya’s poverty eradication development objective.

Through the matchmaking platform, women like Ms. Omollo have access to new markets where they can sell their produce.

Submitted by: Emah Madegwa
FAO Office: FAO Kenya
Topics: Smallholders
Country: Kenya