African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services

Delivering Extension to the ‘Last Mile’ Bridging the gap for Rural Communities; A case of Joseph Ng’ang’a Kihara, avocado farmer, Central Kenya

Extension services play a crucial role in supporting farmers and rural communities by providing them with valuable knowledge, training, and resources to improve agricultural practices and livelihoods. The African Forum for Agriculture Advisory Services (AFAAS) through its Country Forums has been implementing ‘the Last Mile Project’ in three countries in Africa; Kenya Malawi and Cameroon in close collaboration with the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) with International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) inorder to bridge the extension gap and ensure equitable access to extension services, innovative approaches and strategies required.

Kenya Country Fora (Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services – Kenya – KeFAAS), has aided in delivering extension services to the Last Mile to Murang’a Avocado Farmers’ Cooperative Union (MAVOC). Aavocado farming has emerged as a lucrative agricultural venture and the benefits can be amplified, through a successful farmer, Mr.  Joseph Ng’ang’a Kihara. His Farm stands as a shining example of successful avocado cultivation. This artefact delves into the remarkable journey of Ng’anga’s Farm and sheds light on the thriving avocado farming industry.

Joseph is among other farmers that KeFAAS, in collaboration with the County government of Murang’a, the National Agriculture Rural Inclusivity Growth Project (NARIGP) and other private sector entities have empowered with knowledge and skills, facilitating technology adoption, promoting climate- smart practices, and ultimately improving their livehoods.

Situated in the heart of Murang’a County, Ng’ng’as farm takes advantage of the region unique geographical features. The farm is nestled amidst rolling hills, which provide protection from harsh winds while facilitating optimal air circulation. The well drained soil, enriched with organic matter essential nutrients, creates an ideal environment for avocado trees to flourish. Additionally, the moderate temperatures and consistence rainfall patterns throughout the year support healthy growth and high yields.

The farm has become renowned for its exceptional Good Agricultural Practices and remarkable yields. Extending extensive extension guidance, the farm has flourished into a thriving avocado plantation, setting an example for aspiring farmers.

  1. Cultivation: Techniques: The farm employs modern and sustainable cultivation techniques to ensure optimal avocado production. They prioritize soil management and employ organic fertilizers and compost to enhance soil fertility. Through regular pruning, irrigation, and pest control measures, the Farm ensures healthy avocado trees and minimizes crop losses.
  • Varity selection; The farm has meticulously selected avocado varieties known for their high yields and market demand. Varieties such as Hass, Fuerte, and Pinkerton have been cultivated, ensuring a diverse range of avocados throughout the year. This strategic selection maximizes market market opportunities and ensures a consistent supply of quality fruits.
  • Diseases and Pest Management: The farm is committed to maintaining healthy avocado trees and employs Integrated Pest Management strategies to minimize the use of pesticides. Regular monitoring and timely intervention ensure the early detection and control of pest and diseases. Beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, are introduce  
  • Market Access and Value Addition: Ng’anga’s Farm through MAVOC which comprises of eleven cooperative societies, has developed strong links to local and international markets, tapping into the growing demand of the fruit. By maintaining high-quality standards and complying with export requirements, the farm has established a reputation for delivering premium avocados.
  • Community Impact: The Farm has not only thrived as a business but has also positively impacted the local community. By providing employment opportunities, offering training programs, and sharing knowledge on avocado farming techniques, the farm has become a catalyst for social economic development in the region.
  • Harvest and Post-harvest Practices. The farmer ensures that he harvest the fruits at the right stage of maturity to ensure optimum flavor and texture. Trained youths handle the harvest process carefully to prevent bruising and damage to the fruit. The farm follows proper post-harvest handling practices.
  • Prospects and Growth Potential: Ng’anga’s Farm serves as an inspiration avocado farmer in theCounty. The success story highlights the immense growth potential in the avocado farming industry and encourages others to venture into this lucrative sector. With the growing demand for avocados both domestically and globally, farmers bright future in avocado production, contributing significantly to Kenya’s agricultural economy.

The success story highlights the immense value of extension and advisory services and encourages the government to revitalize this lucrative sector. Ng’ang’as farm stands as a testament to the potential farmers in Kenya. Through the implementation of modern farming practices, careful variety selection, and strategic market positioning, the farm has archived remarkable success, as more farmers in the region learn from success stories like Ng’ang’a. The avocado industry continues to flourish, providing economic opportunities and contributing to agricultural growth of the country.

Delivering extension services to the last mile is critical step towards achieving inclusive and sustainable agricultural development. By adopting innovative approaches such as mobile technology, community-based extension workers, participatory methods, and public private partnerships, the gap between farmers in remote area and extension services can be bridged effectively. Government, agricultural institutions, and development organizations should prioritize investing in expanding “Last Mile” extension initiatives, ensuring that farmers in even the most marginalized communities receive the support they need to thrive and contribute to food security and rural development.

Written By: Silvia Mburugu, CIKM KEFAAS

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