By Robert Manyara NAKURU (Xinhua) --
Since little profits can be gained from selling raw
farm produce, a number of Kenyan women farmers are ingenuously
putting extra money into their pockets through marketing processed
products, albeit in small scale.
To the delight of Mercy Njeri, a small scale farmer in southwest
Kenyan county of Nakuru, selling crisps proves to be more lucrative
than selling potatoes.
“Selling raw potatoes is such a loss. You spend a lot of money
growing them since you have to use chemicals at almost every stage
to protect them from pests and diseases. But finally end up selling
them at five, six or even eight dollars a sack,” said Njeri.
With the crisps which she makes from her house, Njeri said she can
generate a 50 percent profit from the eight kilogram of potatoes
which sells between four to six dollars in raw depending on the
For the last two years, she has drawn rewarding returns, enabling
her to invest in dairy cows and bees.
Njeri was exposed to value addition through training from a
non-governmental organization which collaborated with agricultural
experts from Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and
According to her, educating farmers on value addition should be
intertwined with linking them to credit providers who can offer
funds at a negotiated interest rate.
For Beth Kennedy from neighboring Nyandarua county, making jam from
strawberry is the best choice she made.
“Jam can last for a year but the raw strawberry cannot remain in
edible condition after week upon harvest. You will count total
losses if you fail to market all of them soon,” said Kennedy, who
has two acres of strawberry.
“There are so many people who want the jam. I get orders from as far
as coast and western Kenya. I also have orders from Nairobi,” she
Kennedy, who also trains other women farmers in her village about
growing and adding value to the strawberry, learnt about the produce
diversification through training carried out by a local
“I also don’t miss out on farm field days, exhibitions or
agricultural shows. You learn a lot from other farmers and get to
meet experts who can give you some direction on what to do to
improve your farming,” she said.
Inaccessibility to information among the rural small scale farmers
is a challenge she observed to be hampering growth among the rural
“I could not have known the profitability of strawberry if it wasn’t
for the training and visiting other farmers who were doing extremely
well with the strawberry,” she said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted the importance of
investing in women farmers to break the rural poverty in its 2015
report on State of Food and Agriculture-Social Protection and
Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty.
“Programs targeted at women have stronger food security and
nutrition impacts,” read the report.
“Programs that are gender-sensitive reduce women’s time constraints
and strengthen their control over income enhance maternal and child
welfare. This is especially important because maternal and child
malnutrition perpetuate poverty from generation to generation.” it