The UK Government through Traidcraft Exchange has funded Farm Concern International to implement Sustainable Agriculture & Women’s Advancement programme that aims to improve the sustainable livelihoods of 2120 smallholder farmers in Meru, Kenya.



Traidcraft Exchange and Farm Concern International have initiated a three-year (September 2018- August 2021) project that aims to improve the sustainable livelihoods of 2120 smallholder farmers in Meru, Kenya. The project titled Sustainable Agriculture & Women’s Advancement: Improving Livelihoods and Establishing Women led Enterprises with Smallholder Farmers in Meru County is funded by the UK government, as well as donatons from individuals in UK.

SAWA project will economically empower and improve the sustainable livelihoods of 1590 women and 530 men smallholder vegetable farmers in Buuri sub-county, Meru, Kenya. There will be a 50% increase in annual net income from sales of targeted crops. SAWA will adapt the Commercial Village Model to promote women’s entrepreneurship through collectve organizaton, improved business skills and links with private sector and government stakeholders.

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AGRA has partnered with Farm Concern International, FCI to increase income for 10,592 smallholder farmers by linking them with 25 buyers to realise income amounting to USD 893,312 through enhanced commercialization, village processing and market access for cassava in Zanzibar for a period of 27 months.

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The United States Agency for International Development through the Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises (KAVES) project has funded Farm Concern International, FCI to enhance 30,757 smallholder farmers’ productivity, income and food security by linking them to 1,367 buyers to attain sales worth USD 8 Million in 22 counties within Kenya for a period of 18 months

Programme Summary

Farm Concern International’s (FCI) intervention under USAID-KAVES targets to enhance incomes for 50,000 smallholder farmers across 22 counties. The programme will be implemented in Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay, Kisii, Nyamira, Bomet, Kericho, Nandi, Uasin-Gishu, Marakwet, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, Kakamega, Migori, and Trans Nzoia, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, and Taita-Taveta.

KAVES in brief.

The USAID-Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises (KAVES) project’s goal is to increase the productivity and incomes of smallholders and other actors along the value chain, thereby enhancing food security and improving nutrition.

The Ministry of Agriculture’s goal is to improve the livelihood of Kenyans and ensures food security through creation of an enabling environment and ensuring sustainable natural resource management. It is envisaged that the project will contribute to this strategy and raise incomes of rural households. The project will make interventions that rectify specific constraints and inefficiencies in the production, processing and marketing of 10 value chains; maize, Irish potato, sweet potato, banana, sorghum, pulses, groundnut, French beans, mango and passion fruit.

FCI is currently providing cross-cutting market development and business development services to KAVES partners and targeting smallholder farmers operating within the USAID designated ‘Feed the Future’ Focus Counties to increase the volume of production of selected value chains marketed through existing trading routes, collection centres or other aggregators of commodities for domestic markets in the KAVES value chains.

FCI is further expected to increase the volume of production of selected value chains marketed through existing trading routes, collection centres or other aggregators of commodities for domestic markets in the KAVES Value Chains.

Problem Statement

Small holder farmers in the African context work in a highly hostile environment that is not conducive to the upgrading of small and often informal producers. Smallholder farmers possess few physical and natural resources such as access to land, water or irrigation systems; they often have very little technical skills and low managerial capacity. They are often have very little access to commercial markets have difficulty in accessing inputs, finance and credit services. These constraints pose a huge challenge for them to ably participate in commercial value chains and when they do participate, high transaction costs are often involved due to the small and dispersed nature of their farming enterprises. 
Value Chain partnerships (VCP) are increasingly being recognized as a promising mechanisms enhancing inclusion of smallholder farmers in commercial value chains. Value Chain partnerships have been defined as voluntary and collaborative engagements between different actors in the value chains which have an institutionalized but not hierarchical structure that strives for a sustainability goal. These partnerships are increasingly becoming a solution to overcome market or state failures, and to increase value chain efficiency as partners are able to pool their knowledge, capabilities and resources to offer advantages in terms of productivity, cost reduction and innovations. The underlying assumption is that by pooling resources together, the VCP's will generate end results which would otherwise have been difficult to obtain individually.

The Approach

Farm Concern International (FCI) is a small holder commercialization and market development organization that is a front runner in developing and implementing tailor made interventions that respond to impediments on commercialization and market inefficiencies along the agri-value chains. FCI believes in partnerships and works through strategic partnerships with value chain players such as input providers, government organizations, research bodies, universities, local authorities, processing companies, traders, supermarkets and local markets all geared towards commercialization and market development of small holder communities in Africa

In the development of the value chain partnerships FCI will focus on creating them along the seed farmers, market and consumer components of the value chains. This will ensure that every component of the Value chain is addressed and that the partnerships allow wider interactions resulting in greater impact among the target communities.

The value chain Partnerships will create an excellent opportunity for the value chain players to learn from the experiences of other value chain players through sharing of information, new research findings, market information and case studies. This will not only enhance knowledge but will create synergies among the value chain players through increased interaction and partnerships with each other. The VCP’s shall also offer trading opportunities for the actors involved in Agri- trade in the value chains and provide information that will enable them to make the right investment choices.The VCP will further be graduated into a market information platform for various sets of information under KAVES and used for quantifying and assessing investments by private sector in target crops.

Target Value Chains

  • Maize: Maize is the staple food in Kenya and is critical for food security. The average Kenyan consumes approximately 98 kilograms of maize every year. It is grown by 98% of the country’s 3.5 million smallholder farmers who produce 70 – 80% of the maize.  Kenya produces 3 million tonnes; however, this is not sufficient for the country (FAO, 2012). The country has a potential productivity rate of 39% based on global averages.
  •  Sorghum: Sorghum is the 5th most produced cereal in the world with over 300 million consumers. In terms of production, Nyanza and Western lead at 52% and 23 % respectively with a per capita consumption of 3kgs per year (AGRA,). It is a highly nutritious food and is also drought resistant. 
  • Irish Potato: The Irish potato is the second most important food crop in Kenya after maize employing 2.5 million people (CIP, 2011). About 35,000 hectares of potatoes are cultivated in Kenya while the production in Kenya is currently worth about KES 50 billion  (NPCK, 2015). Irish potato has a high potential for addressing food insecurity due to its high productivity per unit area. The potato industry can increase if production and processing is optimised 
  • Banana: The banana is a staple crop in Kenya. It has one of the highest values of enterprise per unit area and has high gross margins. It is a very nutritious crop and economically viable as there is high demand for green and ripe bananas in the domestic market. According to the National Banana Strategy for 2013- 2016, Bananas contribute 30-40% of all the fruit revenue generated in the country (KNBDS, 2014). 
  • Pulses: Kenya is among the top pulse producers with a value of 760,000 tonnes annually. It is a high protein plant and requires small land acreage.  
  • Groundnuts: The prevailing high demand for groundnuts internationally and within Kenya presents an opportunity to invest in local groundnut production and trading. This is evidenced by the growing middle income class in developing countries and their increasing preferences for packaged snack and food products.
  • French beans: French beans in Kenya are mainly grown for the export market. A key consideration in expanding and maintaining regional and international trade in French beans is compliance with market standards and government regulations in importing countries. French beans accounted for 29 per cent, Sh4 billion, of Kenya’s total earnings from vegetable exports of Sh13.7 billion last year. 
  • Mango: Currently, mango has an output of 10 tonnes per hectare. Kenya has a competitive advantage in mango production and marketing namely; excellent almost year-round production conditions, strong local markets and proximity of Gulf markets for fresh fruit, substantial recent investment in fruit juice processing facilities, established global marketing capability of export companies and excellent private sector support services available.  
  • Passion fruit: The main challenge to passion fruit production is lack of clean planting material free from fusariumwilt; woodiness and die-back diseases which if addressed will greatly mitigate the disease

Case Studies

Machakos County Trade Fair marked a new dawn for Mr. Clement Kilonzi

Mr. Clement Kilonzi is a farmer from Kaani Location in Machakos County who attended Machakos County Agricultural Trade Fair organized by USAID Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises project on 22nd March 2016. Clement left his home with high hopes and anticipation of a bright day full of new learning experience. The exhibitors did not disappoint because they gave Clement the solution he had been searching for years; the spray programme for his mango trees... Read more >>

Neema Bakari earns USD17,765 (Ksh1,812,000) annually from tissue culture bananas

Mrs. Neema Bakari of Kimorigo village is a smallholder farmer who is an active member of Eldoro Irrigation Scheme is slowly but steadily rising above the odds and challenges as a smallholder farmer is happy to narrate her successes in banana farming. Neema has been cultivating bananas for three years from 2013 on her three (3) acre piece of land. Mrs. Neema is a beneficiary of capacity building events facilitated by Farm Concern International (FCI) through collection center leaders on market led production, business development and entrepreneurship courtesy of USAID Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises Programme... Read more>>

Reaping the Benefits of Collective Action

Mr. Thomson Lendoro is a farmer and a wholesale buyer who was introduced to Kongowea market and KAVES farmers in Taveta Sub County by Farm Concern International. Before the intervention by Farm Concern International, Mr. Lendoro struggled to source bananas since most of his suppliers were widely spread across Taveta Sub County and majority had low quality produce. As a result of USAID Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises training on Good Agricultural Practices, commercialization, market specifications and value addition, farmers now produce healthy bananas which fetch good prices... Read more>>

Mr. Yewa Records Increased Profits by Buying from Aggregation Centers

Mr. Samson Yewa is one of the longest cereal traders in Awendo market of Migori County having been in the business for more than ten years. Mr. Yewa has been faced with myriad challenges in the business especially low supply of cereals during the off season and poor quality produce by farmers. This had forced him to source the product from Uganda and Tanzania leading to low profit margins.... Read more>>

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Tearfund UK has supported Farm Concern International, FCI, to commercialize 9,669 Agropastoralists in Northern Kenya and partner with 33 wholesale buyers to activate sales worth USD 710,873 in a period of 24 months.  


Comap Launch

CoMAP, a project which mainly targets to build the livelihoods of over 1,900 agro pastoralist households, was launched on 19th February 2015 in Marsabit Central Sub-County at the Jirime Hotel and Resort. The event which was facilitated by Farm Concern International (FCI) with support from Tear Fund attracted participants from Marsabit County government representatives, development partners and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries.

In addition to building livelihoods resilience among the pastoralists, CoMAP will also improve entrepreneurship capacity among the agro-pastoralist’s households and increase their income levels by enhancing value chain efficiency through formation of strategic business partnerships and investment networks. 

A Value-chain wide approach will be applied for the proposed CoMAP Project leveraging on commercialization and market linkages. Its design is highly informed by the Participatory Market Assessment for Marsabit County completed in June 2013 conducted by FCI, with support from Tear Fund UK.  The findings of this study were validated through stakeholders’ forums and widely shared with relevant government agencies.


Programme Summary

FCI is implementing the Commercialization and Market Linkages for Agro-Pastoralists household in Marsabit Sub-County (CoMAP Project). CoMAP is a one year project whose goal is increased households income through integrated agro-pastoralist Commercialization, Value Chain Efficiency and Market Development in Marsabit Sub-County.

The project also focuses on building livelihoods resilience among 1,900 agro pastoralist households through improved production, value addition and trade of select commodities in the Marsabit Sub-county.

A value-chain wide approach is being applied for the proposed CoMAP Project by building strategic partnerships among the agro-pastoralists, business service providers and buyers. The proposed interventions seeks to commercialize agro-pastoralists farming activities through an income – based household resilience approach which includes improved market-led production and savings, enhanced value chain efficiency and enterprise development. 

The project integrates a total of 9,575 project beneficiaries and aims to realize sales of Ksh 42 Million (USD 494,117.64) by tapping into current USD 10.8 Million (trade routes identified). The sales target is expected grow with time as CoMAP project continues to open up new trade opportunities for selected value chains. 

FCI held stakeholder meetings with County Government of Marsabit, KALRO, FHK, and Ministry of Agriculture to introduce the project and forge partnerships. CoMAP project has also been introduced to 21 local administration and village elders of Dirib Gombo and Dakabaricha Gombo locations. 

Case Studies

An early weather warning alert results to a Commercial Village response meeting enabling Agro-pastoralists sell livestock at high prices of about 166% more than the selling price of drought-affected livestock

Commercialization and Market Access for Agro-pastoralists in Northern Kenya is sparking market sensitivity by Agro-pastoralists who have been organized into trading blocs known as Commercial Villages. FCI was able to share weather forecasts, warning systems and market information with the Agro-pastoralists in November and December 2016. Agro-pastoralists that heeded to the warnings were able to make a profit of approximately 166% more than their counterparts who are not members of FCI Commercial Villages...Read More

Exposure to Good Agricultural Practices, enables Mrs. Hadija Guyo’s yield increase by 900%

From adoption of Good Agronomic Practices, Mrs. Hadija Guyo has increased her green grams yields from 5-8kg/quarter acre to 50kg/quarter acre, a 900% increase. Hadija, a single mother of two, attended training at Boru Haro in Kukub Tiro CV where a demo was conducted by FCI and the Ministry of Agriculture on how to plant and space green grams and how to identify good quality seeds (N26)...Read More

Marsabit farmer builds 3 roomed rental houses from green gram Sales

For many seasons Mr. Yate tried farming to compliment income from his electrical wiring job that he had been doing since he completed college. He planted maize and beans, the only crops he knew and understood as the best and the suitable for Marsabit and he also found his parents farming as he grew up, for many season but what he got out of it was really discouraging since Marsabit weather is unpredictable and most of the time received very little rainfall. This continued for many years until he attended commercialization campaigns facilitated by FCI under the Agro-pastoralist Commercialization and Markets in Northern Kenya supported by Tearfund....Read More

18 Year old farmer minting thousands from green grams

Mr. Halakhe Wako a standard eight leaver and member of Dirib Gombo Commercial village developed passion for green grams farming after attending commercialization campaigns by Farm Concern International under the Agro-pastoralist Commercialization and Markets Programme in Northern Kenya. Halakhe completed his primary school education in 2013 and did not join secondary school due to lack of fees...Read More

Mr. Adisu Barako records 240% sales increase due to collective sourcing

Mr. Adisu Barako is a trader who buys shoats from agro-pastoralists in Marsabit County and sells in Isiolo and Nairobi markets. He benefitted greatly after learning collective sourcing of shoats from FCI under the Tearfund funded Agro-pastoralist Commercialization and Markets Programme in Northern Kenya. He used to source his shoats from individual farmers or from the highly priced local markets denying him vital cash flow to meet normal basic family needs...Read More

Cash flow to repay debt and restock business from new green gram farming

It dawned on Ms. Hakule Dida that farming right has great potential to earn more after attending commercialization campaigns by Farm Concern International under the Agro-pastoralist Commercialization and Markets in Northern Kenya Programme supported by Tearfund. After adoption of green grams farming in April 2015, she harvested 175 kgs from one acre. She sold 150 kgs at 110 per Kg earning Kshs 16,500 (USD 165); the highest she has ever made from her one acre piece of land. “I did not know green grams have such a high profit margins. I will now reduce production of other crops and increase land under green grams in October season,” she said...Read More


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FCI VISION :Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond.