Not surprisingly, AGRA does a lot of work in Kenya to raise smallholder agricultural productivity and incomes.
AGRA has funded 24 PhD candidates in plant breeding and agronomy, and 28 MSc students who are studying various aspects of crop or soil science. Seventeen of the PhD candidates have graduated and most of those are now working for the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
AGRA has been very active in capacity building in Kenya. Comparatively close proximity to AGRA’s headquarters has enabled us to provide training in use of fertilizer, organic manure and good agronomic practices to nearly 32,000 lead farmers; we estimate that almost 215,000 farmers are now aware of or have some knowledge about these new technologies, thanks to awareness-raising efforts; 1,895 farmer organizations have been trained in the use of fertilizer, organic manure and good agronomic practices; 4,986 farmers have learned about business development, group dynamics and leadership; and 115,988 individual farmers have been trained in post-harvest handling, quality standards, storage, and structured trading.
AGRA has also been active in the realm of innovative finance. AGRA has worked with one major commercial bank (Equity Bank) and four microfinance organizations (Faulu Kenya, SMEP, KWFT and Rafiki DTM) to provide short- and medium-term loans. As at the end of 2014, US$ 29.54 million has been made available to 47,288 farmers and 407 SMEs (including agrodealers). AGRA and its partners provided Equity Bank with US$ 5.0 million in risk-sharing funds and the four microfinance organizations with US$ 7.5 million in on-lending funds.
In addition, AGRA is working with the Kenyan government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as they implement the Program for Rural Outreach, Financial Innovations and Technologies (PROFIT). This program is aimed at increasing the incomes of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fishermen, women, landless laborers, and youth by offering poor rural households systematic and sustainable access to a broad range of financial services, coupled with necessary capacity building. The lessons learned by AGRA’s forays into leveraging financial resources for smallholder agriculture are proving useful to implementing the new initiative.