Agriculture plays an important role in the process of economic development in developing countries like Kenya and this has been the case since the Kenyan nation gained independence 50 years ago. The agricultural sector has seen unparalleled growth over the past years as more companies venture into production and export of flowers and fresh produce. The growth can be attributed in part to the role that modern agricultural techniques and technologies such as those provided by Amiran Kenya, have played in the sector.
Founded in year of Kenya’s independence, 1963, Amiran has brought innovation after innovation to the Kenyan Agricultural sector and has played a major role in bringing the Kenyan floriculture and Horticulture sectors to their current globally respected positions. Introducing the first large scale greenhouses in the late 1980s, Amiran helped to build the first flower firms in Kenya, complete with greenhouses and advanced irrigation systems and has since erected and maintained 85%, approximately 3000 hectares of 3500 hectares of the greenhouses in Kenya.
Amiran in the mid 1970’s, introduced the first drip irrigation systems to Kenya. In partnership with Netafim, the Israeli Multinational, which invented drip irrigation, Amiran has to date laid over 80% of the drip irrigation systems in Kenya and adapted them to the needs of the farmers, from advanced computerized systems for large scale growers to gravity fed smaller systems for small scale farmers. Amiran’s drip irrigation has increase farmers’ yields while proving to be the most water conservative system of irrigation practiced across the globe today. As part of the company’s advancements in modern irrigation systems, Amiran partnered with the Kwale International Sugar Company to implement Africa’s first sub-surfaced drip irrigation project for sugarcane. Intended to span over 5000 hectares, the project which has offered employment to many in Kwale County, has shown that higher quality sugarcane can be achieved through the use of modern technology, while tripling the yields achieved in the region using traditional methods.
From its early years Amiran has ensured that only the highest standards of Agro-chemicals and fertilizers were brought into the Kenyan agricultural sector. In 1995, Amiran introduced the first soluble fertilizers to the Kenyan agricultural sector, allowing farmers to supply crops with optimal rates of nutrients throughout the growth cycle in the most efficient manner possible without degrading soil and water resources. In line with this, in 2013, Amiran introduced a new line of Bio-Solutions making it possible for farmers to achieve higher and better quality yields while protecting natural resources and conforming to International standards.
The year, 2006 marked the entrance of the Amiran Gold Medal Seeds, into the Kenya market, upgrading the quality of seeds offered to farmers and addressing the needs of the growers to achieve higher quantities and quality of crops whether in greenhouses or in the open field. Through its seeds department, Amiran’s now famous brand of seeds, the Gold Medal Seeds are top quality and high yielding seeds, which by adhering to high standards, subsequently raise the standards and quality of the farmers’ products thus improving the farmer’s position in the entire value chain and enabling them to access markets locally and internationally.
Since 2009, Amiran has been at the forefront of the small scale farmers’ agribusiness revolution that has changed the way farmers are viewed in Kenya, addressing the needs of the farmers through Amiran’s 3 pillars to successful, sustainable agribusiness: Knowledge, Know-How and Technology. Based on the three pillars, Amiran in the same year, launched the award winning Amiran Farmers Kit (AFK) bringing a refreshing holistic approach to agribusiness. The AFK, awarded 3 times with the MDG award, provides farmers with access to modern agricultural technologies, methods and inputs that meet the highest global standards. To date the AFK has registered positive impacts on food security and wealth creation in areas where it has been effectively adopted.
Investing in the small-scale farmers, Amiran in 2013, opened the first Amiran Agribusiness Training Center in Oloitoktok. With two additional centers in Meru and Kapenguria, following soon after, Amiran, plans to continue introducing new centers across Kenya, to address the needs of the farmers with an approach that seeks to offer farmers a chance to See, Taste, Feel, Learn – modern agribusiness at the community level with trainings tailors to the needs of the farmers.
Amiran has been able to change mindsets of the young on agriculture, creating a new record of more youthful Kenyan farmers ranging between the ages of 18 and 35. Amiran has attained this focusing its efforts on university campuses, working with Youth groups through the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and in partnership with donors who have supported youth groups by funding Amiran technology for the groups. In 2010, Amiran in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society and the Ministry of Planning, Development & Vision 2030, launched the Amiran Next Generation Farmers Initiative, bringing the award winning AFK and a holistic approach to agribusiness, to primary and secondary schools throughout Kenya, allowing over 2 million children in Kenya access to modern agricultural technology and knowledge. This was followed in 2011, with the Amiran-Youth Polytechnics Next Generation Farmers Initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth, which brought the AFK coupled with a modern agribusiness curriculum to 300 Youth Polytechnics in Kenya.
In 2013 Amiran went a step further in popularizing agribusiness among the youth by signing Gospel Rapper Juliani, as Amiran Poverty Eradication Ambassador with the aim of presenting agribusiness as cool source of wealth creation. Followed by the launch of the ‘Juliani Farming is Cool Concert Tour’ which brought together the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, the Kenya Red Cross Society, Nation Media Group and Juliani’s Kama Si Sisi, youth across Kenya were challenged to be pro-active and create their own wealth using modern agricultural technologies and knowledge from Amiran and the AgriVijana Loan from the YEDF.
Over the years Amiran has grown from single line operations to a pioneer one stop shop, allowing it the depth in terms of experience, knowledge, manpower, tools and products to implement large scale projects or to offer small scale farmers an all inclusive approach to sustainable agribusiness and to support them until they are on their feet. Amiran continues to drive change in the Kenyan agricultural sector, becoming a respected brand name among the small scale farmers of Kenya. Many farmers who have adopted the Amiran agribusiness approach understand that Amiran’s efforts are business oriented, aimed at making money for their farmers by putting money in their pockets and placing them in the front line of Kenya’s development.