It was a day of joy for Lucy Muthoni, after she won top honours in the prestigious National Farmers Award competition – which is getting more competitive and as the search for this years winner commenced.
Organised by Elgon Kenya, a leading agro-input company in East Africa, the competition is now a calendar event in Kenya as more categories are added every year.
The competition, which now has eight categories, sees a top farmer and two runners-up picked from every category. They are awarded trophies, some cash and farm inputs from the event sponsors.
The categories include youth in agriculture, women in agriculture, physically challenged in agriculture, large scale agro-input, small scale agro input, large scale fully commercialised, and small scale fully commercialised.
Also added is a ninth category targeting large commercial farms particularly those in the horticulture and flower growing sector.
The competition is a partnership between Elgon Kenya and the Ministry of Agriculture. Other sponsors include BASF East Africa, Aryster and Seeds of Gold.
By emerging the overall winner, Muthoni, the proprietor of Lucy Park Farm which specialises in growing horticultural crops such as lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, capsicum and a Chinese bean variety known as shing shing, showed that the small scale farmers have the potential to beat established farmers.
She was presented her award by President Kenyatta at the Nairobi Trade Fair and was later feted during a gala dinner at the Laico Regency, Nairobi.
The scheme was started five years ago to reward the best farmer as it seeks to improve the adoption of new farming technologies to enhance food security and incomes.
Elgon Kenya chief executive Bimal Kantaria said that winners of the farmers’ award enjoy a number of benefits, beyond the trophies and the certificates.
“The farmers are given farm inputs from our company to boost their production. They also become trainers of farmers a job which they do at a fee.”
Nelson Maina, Elgon Kenya’s Head of Communication and Marketing, explained that when a farmer registers in the competition, the company retains their contact in their database so that they can reach them in case of outbreak of a disease.
“We alert farmers in case of an outbreak of diseases and pests and inform them of possible remedies such as pesticides for addressing the outbreaks. We also give those in our database some discounts when buying our products,” Maina said.
“In the entry we encourage farmers to include particular challenges they are facing in their daily activities through which we are able to offer them the right advice.”
At the moment, Elgon Kenya has employed a team of experts to respond to farmers’ questions via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
The judgement and inspections of the farms are conducted by agricultural experts from the Ministry of Agriculture. The judges look at the agribusiness aspects of a farming venture, farm records, and the environment under which the farming is done, among other things, such as technology.
Lucy said that she was excited about her win and thanked Elgon Kenya for making it happen.
“For 11 years I have been farming. Finally, the journey got us to shake the President’s hand. Thank You Elgon Kenya for the opportunity,” she said.
Youth in Agriculture
Nicholus Njogu – Muranga County (Winner)
Josphat Kipruto – Uasin Gishu County
Mohamed Abdalla – Kilifi County
Small scale farm gearing to commercialisation
Lucy Park – Kiambu County (Winner)
Lulu Farm – Vihiga County
Mary Wairimu Oloo – Trans Nzoia County
Physically challenged in Agriculture
Anthony Kingori – Nyeri County (Winner)
Francis Kimani – Laikipia County
Allice Mukami –
Women in agriculture
Gladys Migwi – Nyeri county (Winner)
Hellen Wairimu – Nyandarua
Nelly Enterprises – Kilifi
Large scale agro–input dealer, over Sh5million investment
Josemo distributors – Kisii County (Winner)
Tarakwa Agrochemicals – Nandi County
Muhoroni Agrochemicals – Kisumu County
Small scale agro-input dealers, less than Sh5million investment
Beatrice Okello – Kisumu (Winner)
Green Track Investment – Laikipia
Safina Farmers Ark – Vihiga
Small scale farms fully commercialized
Peris Wangui Gitau – Nakuru (Winner)
Robert Githua – Nyeri
Kenneth Anyoso Ongenge – Bungoma County
Large scale fully commercialized
Fresh Gold Kenya – Laikipia (Winner)
Eldonyo-Narok – Narok County
Patbon Investment – Kilifi