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The ‘Amiran Farmers Kit’ revolution An agribusiness tool to end poverty in Africa


Farming and the AFK In pursuit of accelerated growth and sustainable development in the region, a new innovation has been born that seeks to improve livelihoods of those who embrace it. Based on an agricultural approach, which aims to “grow more with less”, the AFK (Amiran Farmers Kit) is an all-inclusive package incorporating high-quality inputs aimed at ensuring the small-scale farmer achieves the highest possible yields using modern technology in a simplifi ed and user-friendly way. Awarded for its eff orts towards the Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger (MDG 1) by the MDG Trust Fund in September 2010, the AFK bridges the gap between farmers and success. In a continent that has plenty of land, water and labour, the AFK allows all-year-round crop production in a controlled environment and has seen farmers who have adopted it move from subsistence to commercial farming.


Agribusiness approach Bringing a holistic approach to agribusiness, the AFK rests on three pillars: knowledge, know-how (how to implement the knowledge) and high- quality inputs. The AFK is not just a food production unit – it is an income-generating activity (IGA) that off ers the farmer the opportunity to achieve high returns from a relatively low investment. Besides being a production unit that self-sustains its owner through production of high-value crops, the AFK promises a broad development impact in addition to its strong role in poverty reduction. The AFK, which is a modern sustainable


agribusiness farming unit, allows growing of crops in the greenhouse, as well as in an open fi eld. It comprises of a greenhouse, with a metal frame, insect nets and the high-tech Solarig cover. In the spirit of off ering a user-friendly product to the farmer, the farmer’s greenhouse, which is collapsible, can easily be shipped with the other components of the AFK in the back of a pick-up. The AFK is anchored on the Family Drip System (FDS), a gravity-fed drip irrigation system that does not require an energy source to pump the water through the drip lines. Drip irrigation, adopted widely all over the world, is the highest yielding and most water-conservative system of irrigation practiced across the globe today. The knowledge and know-how components are unique to the AFK and rarely off ered as a service by the private sector. This component involves training and agro-support, which ensures that the farmers understand the AFK, its maintenance and improved agronomic practices. Additional components of the AFK include high-yielding seeds, top-quality fertilizers, agro-chemicals, a 600-litre collapsible water tank, protective gear and a 16-litre knapsack sprayer.


Seeking long-term solutions Food crises stagnate the economic development of a country and raise the cost of living. Various institutions understand that the only way to


alleviate this is to form a sustainable means of wealth creation, such that the farmers will have a sustainable, steady mode of income, rather than relying on handouts from the government and well- wishers for survival. The Kenya Red Cross Society, for example, has identifi ed the AFK as a tool to mitigate famine, especially in drought-stricken areas. Other partnerships include the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), the European Commission’s Drought Management Initiative and many other NGOs, donors and government ministries.


Next Generation Farmers Many youths have already taken a keen interest in the AFK technology, as is evident in the fact that the average age of the Kenyan farmer is in the mid 50s while the average age of the Amiran farmer is in the mid 30s. With an aim of making agribusiness attractive to the next generation of farmers, Amiran has established partnerships that have seen the youth embrace Amiran’s agribusiness approach. Through the “Amiran Next Generation Farmers Initiative”, many schools have acquired the AFK. In addition to strengthening food security in these schools and enriching the diet of the students, the AFK serves as an educational tool, a practical classroom for the students. Amiran is turning


around the mindset of many youths who are now taking up this technology, and farming in general, not just as a traditional way of earning a livelihood, but as an exciting career! Through its Facebook page, ‘Amiran K’, Amiran continues to attract young farmers, who get to interact with Amiran, chatting, sharing experiences and making enquiries on agricultural matters and the complete solution that Amiran off ers. Indeed, Amiran is proving to the youth that “farming is cool”.


Impact created by AFK The AFK has already proved itself. As governments, NGOs and donor agencies seek to empower communities, a more sustainable approach is being adopted, training the community to fi sh as opposed to giving them fi sh. As we continue to look for ways to improve livelihoods, Amiran believes that modern agribusiness is the most available and sustainable means of wealth creation.


For more information visit: www.amirankenya.com or contact: afk@amirankenya.com


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