As the New Year 2021 begins on a high note, despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic the previous year, so are farmers taking on their farming tools with gusto and energy. Since western and coastal regions of Kenya heavily rely on rain-fed agriculture, early farm preparations are underway so that most weeds are uprooted and left to dry during the dry period that runs from the end of January to mid-March. Besides preparing their farms, farmers are busy ensuring that they have certified maize seed, well prepared compost manure, requisite industrial fertilizers, and other farming tools and inputs to take advantage of the first rains.

Those farmers trained on SAWBO’s Postharvest Loss: Jerrycan Bean Storage have taken advantage and stored their seed selected from the previous harvest (November-December) and can comfortably wait for the onset of rains to plant their farms on time. It’s common knowledge that a majority of Kenyan farmers prefer to buy their Maize seed from recommended Agro-vet shops (certified grain seed dealers), but buy other seed, like beans, ground nuts, bambara nuts, cow peas, soya beans and other locally grown seed from the market, or select from previous harvests.

For the Kataru Concepts team, the year 2021 provides an opportunity for expanding our farmer’s network across the country, encouraging them to watch more animation videos from the SAWBO Video library and putting in practice what they learn in order to improve their practices in agriculture, health, economic empowerment and general well being. Prior experience with our expansive farmer’s networks covering five counties of western and four other counties from coastal Kenya reveals that there is a range of other farming digital products providing more or less what our SAWBO products are. However, our members acknowledge that SAWBO videos are brief, elaborate, and easy to understand because they are available in several local dialects apart from Kiswahili, a language widely used in East Africa. This calls for an ingenious approach by the team to ensure farmers are accessing more SAWBO animation videos. 

A previous training session with Tumaini youth group training on the jerrycan-bean storage technique. Picture by Kataru Concepts.

Partnering with local media houses.

Media houses in Kenya appear to have been bitten by a bug that’s pushing them to change their programming and do more on agriculture and the value chain. Suddenly, there is a rise in demand for agricultural content and a paradigm shift in programming. Agricultural content, talk shows and documentaries are a frequent occupier of prime time on local TV and FM radio stations with farmers being advised on a range of practices from animal husbandry to proper crop care. This has caused a sharp increase in provision of digital farming solutions by other industry players such as FarmKenya, DigiFarm, KTN Farmers TV, Seeds of gold magazine, Smart farmer Africa, and Ujuzi Kilimo, just to mention a few. We can confidently add that all these have cultivated fertile ground for SAWBO animated information, and availed partners for future collaboration aimed at improving our people’s farming practices.

Right from western Kenya counties of Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans-nzoia and Vihiga down to our coastal farmers plying their trade in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties, the Kataru Concepts team has its hoe sunk in the soil ready to “cut” tracks and plant SAWBO knowledge as an all-time farmer friendly digital partner.

To our partners in the health sector known as Community Health Volunteers or CHVs featured in a previous blog titled “Community health volunteers-CHVs”, the Kataru Concepts team has put in place coordinators in all counties in which we have a presence to assist them with access and use of SAWBO health animation videos in their day-to-day practices. CHVs play a very important role in our communities, hence the availability of SAWBO animation videos in local dialects makes them a favorite across the country.    

It is in our plan to extend our program and activities to the following modes of dissemination in order to reach as many farmers as possible. So we advise our members to always listen to us on local media houses as we share SAWBO knowledge and information.

Radio talk shows, TV appearances and social media platforms: Local FM radio stations are an all-time favorite mode of transmission for all forms of information consumed by our communities. We intend to increase our presence on these stations and share as much SAWBO information as we can and grow our networks across the country and region.It’s worth noting the excitement one of our farmers, Mrs. Hellen Alukwe from Mung’ang’a village in Kakamega county, had when she called on 6th January 2021 at 10:17am to let us know that a local TV station, KTN Farmers TV, was running a SAWBO animation video on Biocontrol of Legume Pod Borer (Maruca vitrata).  

Apart from mainstream media, we are using social media platforms to network extensively and share knowledge found in SAWBO animation videos that enhance farmer-to-farmer extension services, while saving costs of crop production and harvest management. Frankly, we are growing in all directions one harvest at a time and hope to reach most agriculturally viable counties in our country soon.

SAWBO “demonstration farms/plots” and farmers field days.

 This is a new concept that the Kataru Concepts team is putting in place. We are identifying certain farmers in our groups/networks and using their farms as demonstration sites that farmers groups can visit on organized “farmer’s field days,” get trained on a number of practices captured in the SAWBO animation videos, such as planting on raised beds, compost preparation, fertilizer application, pest control, drying harvest, post-harvest loss management, etc. The purpose of these demonstration plots/farms is to ensure farmers enjoy their practice by having first-hand experience on the actual application of the digital information availed via animation videos. We simply want to go crazy with SAWBO in every county and area of our presence. In partnership with local NGOs, CBOs, Self Help Groups and individual farmers, we aim to cascade knowledge to every household and have them get value from their farming investment.

Ultimately, we look forward to each county having one “demonstration farm/plot” for its farming fraternity, and in the future, increasing the number of demonstration farms/plots to constituency level in order to educate as many farmers as possible. To work our growth, we have identified nine persons from our expansive networks to volunteer as our county representatives to run and manage Kataru Concepts and SAWBO programs in their respective counties of origins.

Finally I want to notify our esteemed partners, NGOs, CBOs, farmers, health workers and readers to conduct us via our volunteers in their counties as listed below. For more information and inquiries please call +254 770 448 254, +254 731 448 254, +254 714 448 254. You can also send us Email via infor@kataruconcepts.com, kataruconcepts@gmail.com or visit our blog at www.kataruconcepts.com

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