Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mutomo farmer’s experience at Sokopepe launch

By Rhoda Musili
When 64 year old Flora Nzambuli was informed that she will be attending a Sokopepe market portal launch at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre she saw this as an opportunity to learn new things to boost her farming initiatives.

Flora interacts with members of the public who visited her
exhibition stand during the launch( Photo: ALIN)
The travelling journey was a learning experience in itself for the Mutomo farmer. Mutomo District where she hails from is an arid and semi-arid area and seeing maize plantations laden with produce as well fruit orchards were a wonder to behold for the farmer who describes the experience and launch an eye opener.

“The launch was very colorful. The displays attracted a lot of farmers, community members and stakeholders. Community members were curious to know how they could benefit from the initiative. They felt having a bargaining power was crucial in market linkages,” says Flora.

The farmer adds that the launch also gave her an opportunity to interact with fellow farmers from different communities where ALIN’s Maarifa Centres are established. Through interaction with fellow farmers, they deduced it was important to support one another as well as embracing team work and supporting each other in market opportunities as well as sharing and exchanging ideas

Flora (holding a water melon) poses for a photo with 
fellow farmers and community members(Photo:ALIN)
Flora adds that she gained lots of knowledge on the Sokopepe platform and how to navigate the site. Back home the farmer plans to market the initiative churches, group networks and local administration. She feels that this platform could not have been launched at a better time

“Mutomo residents are constantly exploited by the middle man especially when selling green grams produce,” says Flora who adds that it will be ideal for Sokopepe to be localized through local vernacular stations to reach a wider number of audience as well as sensitization on how to do mobile e- agriculture

Mrs. Nzambuli is a small scale farmer who practices smart farming at her farm in Mutomo District of Kitui County in Eastern Kenya. She has implemented water harvesting on her farm through construction of water harvesting earth pans as well as digging retention dams on her farm for water and soil conservation. She uses the water harvested for domestic use and fruit farming whereby her biggest fruit growing venture is water melon farming which fetches her Kshs.40, 000 annual profit.

Sokopepe( Swahili for virtual market)  is an agricultural commodity trading platform portal spear headed by ALIN that links small scale producers to final retailers or bulk purchasers.Services  provided include; commodity prices, farm inputs,linkage with other service producers,farming and livestock tips as well as secure mobile payment systems.

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