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Report on Denmark Environment Minister visit- 23/02/2012 to Makueni County Introduction

Natural Resource Management Programme is a one of the Danida funded project integrated in Agricultural Business Development (ABD) as a component in BSPSII Programme which is under MESPT. The objective of the visit was to familiarize with the NRM Programme, the strategy used and the impact on the targeted beneficiaries on the ground hence increasing market access and reduce poverty levels within the local community. Makueni County being one of the ASAL targeted areas, 53 small holder farmers from both Export Vegetables and Mangoes were selected and Cactus as a Private Service Provider was contracted to carry out the surveys that were done and after evaluation only 24 were selected ready for implementation of the irrigation designs. Due to the fact that Makueni and Taita Taveta seemed to be ahead in NRM project implementation, Makueni was selected due to logistical issues and time set for the visit by the Environment Minister Madam IDA Auken to represent the other ASAL areas. The Visit by the ambassador to Makueni was pronounced in January 22nd 2012 where by two farmers were proposed i.e. Elizabeth Mulinge (representing Export Vegetables) and Major Mwania (representing Mango farmers) The reason for the choice of the two farmer was logistical, gender and also allocated time for the visit (see map below)

Preparation for the visit started in January but due to time limitation the Embassy suggested the minister only one farmer to be visited They settled for Elizabeth Mulinge due to the following factors: young farmer, a woman, distance of her farm from the main road was near and also has a contract with a woman exporter, the Gert the ambassador visited the farm to confirm the suitability of the site visit (see below Photo)

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Preparations and installation of the solar pump was done by both Cactus and Davis & Shirtliff The same was commissioned on 21st February 2012 ready for Ministers visit (see below photos). On 23rd February, 2012 the Environment Minister visited the farm and the following were the activities that took place in the one hour visit. The function was attended by the Environment Minister Denmark, Team from RDE lead by the ambassador, MESPT Team lead by the CEO, Vert Ltd (Exporter) Team lead by CEO Vert, Ministry department lead by DAO representative, Administration team i.e. DC lead by DO, Local administration lead by Chiefs, Small holder farmers for both mango and Horticulture, local service providers and Technical service providers i.e. Cactus, Davis & Shirtliff and Farm to Fork, Media group, security team from the Embassy and Makueni Police station, Elizabeths Family, her neighbors and local Dancers. The Madam Minister had a tight programme that day hence forced to adjust the programme by limiting the planned speeches to enable her finish early to catch her evening flight back to Denmark. The following were the speeches and activities undertaken during the one hour visit by the Environment minister, Madam IDA AUKEN.
1. Brief of Elizabeth Mulinge

2. District Coordinator-MESPT/ABD-NRM- Makueni County 3. Universal Traders Sacco - Financial services 4. Vert Ltd - Exporter 5. Service Provider Extension services

After the speeches the minister was taken round the farm that was installed with solar irrigation systems where she commented that NRM was a workable and sustainable project in a green economy. She commented that she will report to her country Denmark the good work being done in Kenya for more support because she realized green economy is the way to go to succeed in agriculture. The Minister was shown the way oxen are used to till the land as the main machinery in Kenya Finally the minister was appreciated by Elizabeth and her family by giving her a plastic bag made through the waste polythene bag as a sign of conserving and maintaining a clean environment

1. Brief of the farmer visited by RDE-Environment Minister on 23rd Feb 2012

Farmers Name: Mrs Elizabeth Mulinge and her Husband is Titus Mulinge. She is 26 yrs old while the husband is 35 yrs. Education Level: Elizabeth has studied up to college level while Mulinge is a form 4 leaver. They have 2 children (Clifford and Bruno) both boys.

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Main Occupation is farming(no intention to be employed) Elizabeth is a mixed farmer who grows Mango, French beans, Citrus fruits, Bananas, Maize, Water melon, Tomato, Asian Vegetables, Dairy cows, goats and has oxen for ploughing. They have 20 acres of land for farming In December 2010 she was one of the group member of 21 members who through ABD were linked to Vert Ltd and contracted to grow French beans. Due to water shortage, the group members reduced to 7 members and this trend continued until they were left only 4 farmers. During that period, Elizabeth sold French beans from February up to September where she stopped due to high cost of fuel as a result of drought and started looking for a solution of water through deepening the shall well. Through NRM programme she was identified as one the serious business oriented young farmer who can sustain supply of French beans to Vert limited if supported. Elizabeth started planting again In January 2012 due to improved soil moisture after short rain of December 2011. To sustain the supply of 500kg per pick twice a week, she was advised that she needs to have a total investment of Ksh 950,000 on solar irrigation system which will be expensive but in long run will be cheaper hence breaking break even in her farming business. As a result of the investment, she will increase her monthly income from Ksh. 20,000 to over ksh 50,000 which will improve her livelihood and meet her dream of being a farmer the rest of her life. Benefits of linkage to the market She acquired training on Global Gap/fair trade standards. She underwent training on grading at Vert ltd and as result her rejects were reduced from 20% to less than 10%. Through ABD, she was linked to Universal Traders Sacco (UTS) where she acquired a saving culture and a result she bought shares through her savings and accessed a loan of Ksh 30,000 where she cleared the loan through the farm income. She plans to increase her shares in order to get bigger loan in future after heavy water facility investment.

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Elizabeths Husband scouting the french beans in the farm

During Grading after harvesting of French beans in the Elizabeths farm

Visit by ABD on follow ups of the picking and grading of French beans
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Elizabeth in Verts Pack house during grading training. Elizabeth in one of meetings with Vert Ltd CEO

2. Highlights from the District Coordinator MESPT Makueni office NRM Programme being Private Participation The solar irrigation systems installed was purely Green energy i.e. No fuel used no electricity on the farm Importance of the Solar Irrigation System to the farmer Elizabeth can produce all year round. She can supply the produce when the market needs High rate of Water saving compared to old system using pipes and bucket to irrigate the plants Sustainable optimal production all year round- reduced production cost leading to increased income Improved quality produce as per market demands- reject rate reduce from 40% to less than 10% Possible Pay back investment exporter due to water availability and ready market through Vert ltd

Increase production from 75kgs per planted 1kg to 350 kg per planted 1 kg Increase income from 20,000 to 50,000 through her mixed farming e.g. Poultry, Mango, French beans, watermelon, tomatoes, bananas, maize, citrus, dairy and goat farming Increasing mango production from the current 176 pcs per tree to 600 pcs per tree produced when the demand for the mangoes is high i.e. During high demand the price is from 40/= Page 5 of 14

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20/= September to November while during the peak season(high supply in Low demand) the price is 10 4/- in December to February The farmer has been trained on the following Inter grated Pest Management (IPM), Agricultural Practices(GAP) Inter grated Crop Management(ICM) and Good

Minimum use of pesticide as per EU market (safe use of chemicals and selective use of pesticide as per approved pesticide list.) Crop rotation- soil management to avoid soil degradation Environment conservation through waste management e.g. composting into manure, waste disposal Planting more trees which acts as wind breakers, Natural fencing and Environment. also conserves

Future plans for NRM project With funds availability, the following target farmers/institution can benefit as per the NRM - 5 year strategic plan Mango farmers 9,700(IPM/renewable energy, water systems) Export vegetables producers 1,500(IPM/renewable energy, water systems) Passion fruit producers 600(IPM/renewable energy, water systems) Institutions/Households- solar heaters, Biomas, energy saving jikos 2,000 Market diversification to spread out the risks for both farmers and SMEs.
3. Exporter Vert Ltd by CEO Jane Maina She started by appreciating the DANIDA support through Environment Minister, the Ambassador for the great work they doing to the SMEs and Smallholder Farmers who are the key actors in the value chain through MESPT/ABD/NRM project. Before the intervention, the market was disorganized with very weak linkages but now with the support of MESPT/ABD the Value chains have been streamlined by addressing the key constrains which could make the value chain to be unsustainable. The CEO on behalf of Vert Ltd informed the visitors that through the support of MESPT/ABD have managed to contract farmers in Makueni to grow French beans. The company has grown with the farmers from individual, group up to association level and this is a great achievement to the company. She was happy to see the growth of farmers in terms of production, income and relationship as well of the company in terms of customer and market base despite in adequate water availability. Support to Farmers The company buys produce from the farmers and exports to EU countries Denmark included.

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Market assurance to the farmers by signing yearly contract with them at all levels Technical support to farmers on production, chemical/fertilizer application, harvesting grading products hence consistency market. Challenges faced Water availability is the main challenge for it affects across the value chain in that, when there is in adequate water, the farmer suffers losses i.e. high cost of production, high rate of rejects hence low income to the farmer, and if the production is low the company loses clients hence the business becoming unsustainable. Conclusion The CEO Vert Ltd appreciates the support of the DANIDA through MESPT-ABD/NRM Project given to the farmers and also requested more support in order reach more farmers in Makueni County

Vert ltd Director Jane Maina giving speech during RDE-Environment Minister

4. P. O. BOX 2119-90100


SPEECH BY THE CHAIRMAN DURING A VISIT BY ROYAL DANISH EMBASSY MINISTER FOR NATIONAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, AT ELIZABETH MULINGES FARM, NGUKUNI Danish Minister for Environment,Royal Danish Embassy Ambassador,All Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am humbled to be here today, during the visit of the Danish Minister for Environment. It is indeed a great honour.

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Universal Traders Sacco Society is registered under the Ministry of Co-operative and licensed by the Sacco Society Regulation Authority (SASRA) to receive deposits from the public. This makes Universal Traders Sacco an equivalent Financial Institution which not only receives deposits from the public that is, members but also extends credit to its members. Universal Traders Sacco started its partnership with MESPT since 1999 and the partnership has continued to grow something we all embrace and cherish. But Universal Traders Sacco has now grown to the extend that it is seeking to partner with countries like Denmark to receive direct credit for on-ward lending to the farmers. By doing this, the farmers will be able to be given affordable credit in order to not only uplift the living standards but stimulate growth within the local population. Hence we request the Danish Embassy to create an avenue through which Universal Traders Sacco can continue to fund the local farmers who are involved in meaningful farming like Elizabeth Mulinge. Universal Traders Sacco Society works closely with organized Groups especially Women Groups who are the marginalized and vulnerable segment of our Society. This is in line with the Saccos tagline of People helping People to uplift living standards. One of our key partners is the Government of Kenya who have entrusted the SACCO with cheap funds for women involved in business, Youth Fund for the Countrys young population and funds for the farmers growing coffee. But there is room for more in order to reach the rural population who have not been reached by most of the Financial Institutions. Universal Traders Sacco has now signed a Tripartite Agreement with the National Resource Management Program, on one hand and the Exporter on the other hand. This is aimed at ensuring that the farmers are assured of market for their produce. We shall continue to discuss with MESPT through ABD to enhance our relationship with the farmers. Our Visitors, we assure you of our commitment to ensure the farmers are given affordable credit to meet their economic needs which is our driving vision. GOD Bless you. Pst. Isaiah Mutungi - Chairman

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UTS Chairman, Pastor Isaiah Mutungi giving speech during the Minister visit. 5. Service Provider Extension services
Mr. Alex Wambua started appreciating the work done by to the small holders through DANIDA supported projects like MESPT-ABD/NRM . The Service Providers have been trained on ICM/IPM, Market standards eg. Global Gap & Fair Trade certification, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Mango orchard management, inputs applications, record keeping and developing simple cash flows. Through this extension services e.g. advisory, grafting, pruning, chemical application/spraying, scouting and training of famers at a fee, the SPS have managed to earn their living. Mr. Wambua, appreciates to be a service provider because he gets more income even than those employed people because the Mango farms and the farmers and UTS with the right product is available making him be permanently in business due to market availability. Conclusion Once the assured market is there the demand for the service is very high and farmers get loans and pay for the services given by the service providers without difficult ties. The SPs requested more efforts to be put in renewable energy e.g if solar motorized pump would be introduced to cut down cost of fuel while giving out services to increase their income will be a great move to safe our farmers/SPs

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Service Provider (Mr. Alex Wambua) explaining the services given to farmers

Proogramme for RDE- NRM Minister Visit on 23rd Feb 2012 at Elizabeth Mulinges Farm Ngukuni at Kalamba in Makueni County
Time 2:30p.m 2:35-2:40 Activity Minister arrives Short introduction of those present 2:40-2:50 Elizabeth/Mulinge DC DAO CACTUS /Devis & Shartlift UTS

- VERT Short remarks on history and purpose of project ( ABD/NRM support and plans for the future) MESPT- ABD District Coordinator Serah Nzau

2:50-3:00 3:00-3:25

Role of PSPs, SPs, UTS, Vert, (3 mins or less for each representative) Tour of the Farm and demonstration of the solar powered irrigation system Lead by Elizabeth Mulinge, Serah Nzau and Peter Muthigani Short remarks by:


District Agriculture Officer DC

3:30-3:40 3:40

Short remarks by Minister for Environment Vote of Thanks and Departure

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Photos during Ministers Visit

Minister & Ambassadors being welcome to Elizabeth farm. Minister admiring displayed quality French beans and Mangoes from Makueni exported to Denmark by Vert Ltd

Introducing Elizabethss family to Minister

Introduction of MESPT CEO to the minister

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The RDE team and farmers listening for the speeches carefuly

Minister being taken to the Elizabeth farm to view the installed solar irrigation system

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The Minister being shown Mango tree how its managed to give better yields, Also the minister being taken round the installed irrigation systems, lead by Elizabeth, Cactus and Davis & Shirt lift

The Engineer Lady from Davis & Shirtliff explains how the solar pump works and the Minister giving her appreciation for Kenyan people investing in green economy

The Minister being shown how Bulls are being used instead of machineries to till the land.

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Farmer appreciating the minister for the visit. Minister leaving at her own pleasure after given a gift Kamba traditional ciondo and a plastic bag from recycled waste polythene papers as a sign of conserving/cleaning our environment..

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