Improving agricultural productivity

Improving agricultural productivity in eastern Kenya through scaling up cereal-legume intensification



The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) partnered with the Anglican Development Services (ADS) in a 3-year project (2011-2014) implemented in Makueni County, which sought to address the prevailing food insecurity due to low and declining production of the staple cereals and pulses in the region. The project was geared to promote the production of important and climate resilient cereal and legume food crops: Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.), pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan), cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp) and cassava (Manihot esculanta crantz) through (a) increased access to farm inputs (fertilizers and improved seeds), (b) application of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices, and (c) increased access to output markets. The project achieved outstanding results, including building capacity of about 14,000 farmers with ISFM technologies (against a target of 10,000), 61% of whom were women farmers. There has been tremendous increase in productivity, with about 8,400 farming families now practicing at least two ISFM practices such as sorghum-pigeon pea rotations using improved seeds and fertilizers. The farmers have benefited through doubling of yields, with sorghum farmers now harvesting up to 1.6 MT/ha (from the initial 0.5 MT/ha). Yields of cowpeas and pigeon peas also doubled from less than 0.5 at baseline (both) to now 1.0 and 1.2 MT/ha, respectively, substantially improving farmer incomes and contributing to the nutritional and food securities of the people of Makueni County. The project developed linkages with buyers and farmers there has been tremendous increase in sales of farm produce.

Despite these investments, there was still existing gaps that needs to be addressed in order to lay a firm foundation for agricultural growth and intensification in the county. Principally, there was need for scaling out ISFM interventions to other geographies in Makueni county that were initially not covered in phase 1, in order to improve overall production and provide good economic sense for more participation by larger-scale agricultural produce off-take agencies. The first phase of the project reached approximately 14,000 farmers, which represents no more than 10% of the estimated 150,000 farmers in the expansive county. A second phase was proposed and is aimed at reaching additional 20,000 farmers with ISFM technologies. The 2nd phase of the project started in 2015 and is expected to end 2018. Specifically the project will achieve the following outcomes; Improved capacity of FOs to sustainably and inclusively serve the needs of their members and disseminate ISFM methods (use fertilizer, cereal-legume rotations/intercrops, improved seed and good agronomy) to members, Increased use of fertilizers and improved seeds among smallholder farmers among 20,000 smallholder farmers (10,000 farmers from Phase 1 and 10,000 farmers from Phase 2), Doubling of yields for sorghum to at least 2 MT/ha, and pigeon peas and cowpeas to at least 1.5 MT/ ha leading improved household food security and income, The project is expected to contribute at least 4,000 MT of sorghum to the breweries valued at USD1.4 million.  This production will be able to meet at least 50% of the breweries demand. In addition, the project will also produce 1,000 MT of pigeonpea valued at USD0.4 million.

completion level


Improving agricultural productivity in eastern Kenya through scaling up cereal-legume intensification

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