Developing partnerships for the uptake of polymer-based technologies to reduce food waste and enhance incomes for smallholder farmers in Kenya
About the project
UK-registered Partner: AGS EKOLOGY LTD – Edward Morrison
Africa-registered Partner: Farm Forestry Smallholder Producers’ Association of Kenya (FF-SPAK) – Geoffrey Wanyama
AGS and Cranfield University successfully developed innovative spray technologies that use anionic polyacrylamides (‘PAM’) to minimise soiling of fine bean crops, a phenomenon which otherwise accounts for >25% of smallholder produce in Kenya being rejected because of ‘soil splash’ contamination. PAM application by smallholders can therefore significantly reduce waste streams in African agri-food value chains.
This travel grant was used to develop new partnerships for uptake of this technology across Kenya’s wider vegetable-growing sector to improve productivity and prosperity for smallholder farmers of other important crops – including tomatoes, peas, broccoli, spinach, coriander, kale and chillies. By mid-2022, these commodities were the 2nd most imported good to the UK from Kenya (c. 40% of all goods, valued at >£125M). Indeed, horticulture is a leading contributor to national GDP in Kenya, increasing at c.15-20% p.a., with smallholders producing >70% of all export crops.
FF-SPAK (Farm Forestry Smallholder Producers’ Association of Kenya) is the lead agency for smallholders in Kenya with 16 associations in 18 of the major Counties that support national horticultural production. Their membership currently stands at over 50,000 individual farmers, presenting a great opportunity for dissemination and exchange of knowledge.
AGS and FF-SPAK partnered under this travel grant to promote PAM application among their member associations – visiting farms, meeting smallholder cooperatives, demonstrating use of PAM and undertaking a needs assessment for the development of further projects and business opportunities. Their collective goal going forward is to significantly reduce crop rejects and enhance incomes for all smallholders in Kenya.