An urban community group looks at ways to contribute to local needs
Assisted by Small Grants Initiative funding, piloted by the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and supported by the Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE) project, a number of enterprising food producers in the region of Bungoma County, Kenya, are finding deserved success
It was a message posted by a youth group on social media that first alerted Global Smart Farm to the existence of a grant which could benefit their chick-breeding venture and other projects. “We saw it had been promoted on the social media site and enquired for more information,” says Global Smart Farm member Ethan Wamocho. “We realised that what the grant offered would benefit us. In addition, the application process was quite easy.”
The Small Grants Initiative is a pilot scheme of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture with support from the Nutrition in Ecosystems (NICE) Project. Implementation of grants began in September 2022 and focused on increasing the production of poultry and African Leafy Vegetables among five groups in Bungoma and Busia Counties.
Global Smart Farm was founded in 2018 and is part of the Springs Hope Community-Based Organization (CBO). It consists of eight members who come from the areas of Busia, Bungoma, and Eldoret. Ethan explains that due to the high cost of feed and vaccines, the Farm has moved from a focus on day-old chicks to breeding one-month-old chicks to maturity, fed on growers’ mash. In addition to funding received through the Small Grants Initiative, members have benefited from training in poultry production and financial management.
Global Smart Farm is forging a good business reputation in Kibaii, Bungoma County, for its provision of chicken (including the ability to respond to requests for substantial orders and events such as weddings). Poultry diseases are dealt with through a combination of strict adherence to a vaccination regime, enhanced housing, and good hygiene. Meanwhile, the group is looking at opportunities to expand its ventures. Being situated in an urban area has encouraged it to adopt horticultural technologies that maximize space. Members run a kitchen garden, growing vegetables both for consumption and as an additional source of revenue. Another project – one which will have the added benefit of employing local youth – is involvement in the production of a locally based feed formulation.
“We have encountered so many challenges as a group – such as poultry diseases and managing group dynamics,” reflects Ethan. But he concludes that “when people come together, they may not always agree, but we have learnt to work together as a team.”