A good harvest does not automatically mean good income

In Webuye, Western Kenya, we partner with two farmer cooperatives, named Naima and Kibisi. That‘s ca. 1000 farmers in total. Since October 2019, they participate in our animal health training sessions. Some farmer women have tailored hundred school bags for the Making More Health school, especially for families who cannot afford to buy bags, and with a nice group of farmers, we have also run a soap training. Many of them also participate in other ongoing health training sessions around hygiene and safety. But how does their daily life look?

 

The farmers in both cooperatives are seeing the advantage of being part of a larger unit: “Being an active member of the cooperative helps us definitely to grow. Better knowledge and infrastructures, testing new seeds … there is a lot ongoing. However, life is difficult. We need to learn more about good farming and how to protect the environment, we need better business skills and opportunities and more health and knowledge in general. But often we simply have no money to do it. The income we have is getting better since we have set up the cooperative. However, it is still hard to survive,” explains a farmer when we asked him.

One big issue the farmer had when I visited them in the past was the storage of the harvest. So far, there had not been any opportunity to store the grain. Which means e.g., that the items had to go to market directly. And that the prices they got were often the lowest as many other farmers just needed to sell as well at the same time.

 

Progress of Naima cooperative administration block – the roof is done!

 

At that time, they were finishing a big project: both groups had been able to construct a big storage hall. The halls were nearly done, but what was missing was the finishing and construction of a few smaller buildings around. These buildings would be needed to coordinate the storage and to collect the milk. The two most important issues were to put the roof on the administration building and the construction of a milk collecting house.

Today, we got some pictures of the progress. Now with some additional chairs and desks, the administration building is ready to be used: the farmers can bring their harvest, register, and store – and observe when it is the best moment to sell.