Improved Irrigation Provides Huge Income Boost for Rural Farmers

Photograph of a woman harvesting cropsForty-year-old Rebeca David is one of 80 farmers from Kitui and Makueni Counties set to receive a bumper harvest of about 10,000 kilos of onions per acre of land. This is owed to the support she received from the USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water Sanitation and hygiene (KIWASH) project.

KIWASH engaged an agribusiness company, Safe Produce Solutions, to teach and equip these farmers to engage in commercial farming. Safe Product Solutions distributed certified seedlings and pesticides to the farmers. The company further installed irrigation kits, consisting of open drip irrigation hoses, 1,000-liter water storage tanks and solar water pumps, on each farm. KIWASH facilitated the purchase and installation of the irrigation equipment through a recoverable grant.

In addition to planting and irrigation, agronomists made regular visits to the farms to follow up on the progress of the crops and to ensure that the farmers complied with commercial farming standards. Best of all, the company guaranteed the farmers a market for their produce. Safe Produce Solutions buys the onions at Kshs 30 (USD $0.30) per kilo. This is significant income for the farmers.

Rebeca is certain that her life will change for the better. “For years, lack of water has limited productivity on our farms, but these irrigation kits are going to change our lives. I am grateful to be one of the farmers to receive this kit. I believe this is going to be the best harvest ever,” she said.

Joseph Matheka also benefited from this support. He is thankful for a ready market for his produce. “The best part of this arrangement is that the KIWASH agribusiness partner has guaranteed us a market. If my one-acre farm produces 10,000 kilos of onions and I sell each kilo at Kshs 30, I will make Kshs 300,000 in just four months!” said Joseph.

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