The Sugar Campaign for Change (SUCAM), a recipient of the Africa Lead/CAADP Non-state Actors Coalition (CNC) Small Grants Program (SGP), facilitated a Validation Workshop on 9 August 2018 at Merryland Hotel in Kisumu County, Kenya. The purpose of the validation workshop was for SUCAM to present findings of county budgets for food security projects in Kakamega, Kisumu and Homabay. The assessment of county budgets is one of SUCAM’s key activities under the Africa Lead/CNC SGP, which will inform future activities to train farmers in developing budget action groups (BAGs). Over 15 farmers, representatives from community service organizations, members of county assemblies and county Chief Officers of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries attended the workshop.
Michael Arum, Campaign Coordinator for SUCAM, presented key findings on food security and nutrition projects within the three selected counties, and confirmed a decrease in percentage allocation of investments for agriculture, livestock and fisheries, uncoordinated markets and lack of standard fees for extension and advisory services.
After the presentation, participants expressed difficulty in accessing extension services because they are too expensive and the disproportionate ratio of extension officer to farmer at1:5000, compared to the UN requirement of 1:450. Some farmers also noted the high costs of commercial feeds and other agricultural inputs, which inhibit their means of production. Chief Officers of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries from Kisumu, Kakamega and Homabay counties also presented on the current agriculture environment, and opportunities for livestock and crop development.
As part of a monitoring visit, Africa Lead also visited various beneficiaries working with SUCAM. One such beneficiary was Isaiah Kediak, a workshop participant and leader of Hyangungo Disabled Group in Muhuroni Sugarcane Plantation in Kisumu County. Kediak discussed the challenges farmers face within the plantation due to their disabilities, lack of empowerment from the surrounding communities, limited funding and opportunities to enter agriculture value chains.
The team also visited a community based organization that supports its farmers in chicken hatchery. The group discussed the various challenges the farmers face including the lack of a clear information dissemination platform within the county, and cited the need for effective public participation forums by the county government.
SUCAM will use feedback from the validation workshop to inform a final report on the county budgets for food security and nutrition projects across the selected counties. Additionally, some participants from farmer groups/organizations will participate in SUCAM’s training of farmer BAGs. The training will educate farmers on county-level budget making processes, and the processes of participating in county budget public forums, where actual budget allocations are discussed.
Africa Lead will continue to provide SUCAM with technical and grant management support until the end of August 2018 when SUCAM will conclude activities under the SGP.