Young Kenyan Farmer Remains Resilient To Beat Food Value Chain Break Amid Virus Outbreak

GFRAS-YPARD Competition “Coping with COVID-19: Stories from the Field”

This story won the 2nd Place in the Youth Category in Kenya

By KEVIN ODUOR LUNZALU

Farmer wearing mask even in the field

COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted food value chains locally, nationally, and internationally. The business of keeping Kenya fed, is kept going by young, resilient, adaptive, and ambitious farmers who have vowed to rise above the current waves of uncertainty in the agricultural sector and come out stronger and more profitable. A common case of paradox caused by the crisis is where supermarket shelves are empty while farmers have excess supply without market. One such farmer is Ms. Lydia Akello.

A graduate of Agricultural Education and Extension from Kenyatta University, Lydia Akello, 25, grows tomatoes, kales, sweet potatoes, maize, soya beans, cabbages, and french beans on her 7-acre farm in Siaya. She also rears about 20 chicken layers and a few broilers on the side. A ready market for her produce, which has always been available in the nearby Kisumu City-Kenya’s 3rd largest city-is now at a standstill, forcing the young farmer to devise ways of maintaining profitability while minimizing losses.