Amiran Kenya, UN Women and the Government of Kenya through SHoMaP have partnered to introduce the Women Agribusiness Promotion Initiative’ (WAPI). Officially launched by HE Gil Haskel, Ambassador of Israel at a colorful ceremony that was attended by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders, representatives from Amiran, SHoMaP and UN Women and project beneficiaries, HE the Ambassador welcomed the initiative stating that “If a woman manages a greenhouse, then it lasts longer and experiences more yields than when male counter parts are in charge.”

In a statement during the launch Yariv Kedar, Amiran’s Deputy Managing Director explained that WAPI has been initiated to address some of the challenges that women farmers face in Kenya in pursuit of their economic interests in relation to increased household incomes and asset accumulation. Kedar said that investment in high value crops such as horticultural value chains through use of modern climate smart technologies such as drip irrigation and greenhouses has a noted potential to lift women farmers from poverty and situations of food insecurity within a short time span.

In view of this, WAPI will be supporting women groups with Amiran drip irrigation kits and capacity building to showcase that poverty eradication within households with full participation of women can be a reality. The initiative that is in its pilot stage has started out with over 300 rural small holder female farmers from 10 self-help groups in Meru, Embu and Nyandarua sub counties and aims to transform women in agriculture through a conceptual shift from focus on subsistence farming to market-oriented production using modern and innovative farming practices.

Kedar added that with the knowledge gained from the joint UN Women/SHoMaP and Amiran initiative women and communities at large are expected to be mentors, extension workers, trainers and also practice the farming techniques that allow them to grow more with less.

Among the key activities in the implementation of WAPI was a focused, all inclusive 5-day practical training conducted by Amiran.  The participants in the training included women leaders from each of the 10 participating groups as well as respective sub-county agricultural extension officers.  The training that will also be used to train other women groups at the community level is tailored from the Amiran’s Farmers Kit (AFK) training that focuses on equipping trainees with  new agricultural technologies such as Amiran’s drip irrigation, greenhouse farming, proper application of chemicals and fertilizers in addition to other important topics such as group leadership, financial inclusion and entrepreneur skills.  It is anticipated that the trained women leaders will provide on ground regular para- extension services to actualize the implementation of the project.

Zebib Kavuma, UN Women County Director revealed that WAPI will begin in Meru, Nyandarua and Embu and is expected to spread nationwide. Kavuma also explained that the 10 groups that have benefited from Amiran’s AFKs will also serve as demonstration plots for potential farmers and replication through community led initiatives.

Peter Mbogo, Programme Manager, SHoMaP stated  that the success of this initiative will lead to up scaling of the pilot to a programme that will reach out to thousands of other women and youth farmers within the country with the support of key stakeholders who share a similar vision