Agricultural Mechanization Hubs to Boost Youth-Attractive Commercial Farming Ventures

The USAID Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine offers unprecedented opportunities for innovators in agriculture and nutrition to address fundamental needs in Kenya by proactively testing, incubating and scaling up their ideas. The Innovation Engine is providing avenues through which these innovators can bring forth their best solutions – while facilitating an iterative process of learning and knowledge management. The program is being implemented by Land O’Lakes, Inc. with the financial and technical support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Innovation Engine is partnering with KENDAT as a stage I innovator for the proof of concept for their innovation project aimed at the introduction of agricultural mechanization hubs with the primary intervention of increasing the operational farm power available at farm level. The hub is currently under construction in Mwireri area of Laikipia County.

Objective of the award Through this project KENDAT’s main objective is to advance the spread of the proven gains of Conservation Agriculture (CA) practices through improved access to CA and other appropriate agricultural mechanization by establishing mechanization hire hubs where youthful service providers can learn and trade from CA value chain services.

The hub:

  • Offers a one-stop-shop mechanization hub entry points to the broader agronomic and other technology transfer value chains, offers appropriate and accessible mechanization, backed by requisite support services. The hub set-up is one that seeks to address other farmer needs at the crop-livestock interface, like water, agronomic support (inputs and their proper use), research information, market information and also finance.
  •  Offers a platform where trust in business relations can be built so as to attract women and youth into agriculture while lowering the cost of business transactions between smallholders and their business supporters. This women and youth attractive agriculture is supportive of modern, non-drudgerous farming; it offers rapid mechanization experience in both employment and business management.
  •  The hub also builds links via business clusters to attract critical partners to the scheme.

Construction of the hub

Fencing off land for the agricultural hub

Fencing off land for the hub

An Interlocking blocks making machine

An Interlocking blocks making machine

Interlocking blocks for hub construction

Interlocking blocks for hub construction

Technical  approach

The hub will train and hold a list of accredited service providers who will be placed on an equipment ownership or dependable hire scheme upon payment of a down payment. Service providers wishing to own equipment will be assisted to access financing through the hub – on a revolving fund arrangement under a microfinance scheme to be modelled under the award. KENDAT will also hold tailor-made field day events, competitions and promotional agribusiness shows for enhanced agricultural mechanization dialogue and further business growth engagement. A mechanized model farm at one neighbouring school to the hub will be established under the grant. The hubs will have a well established structure in order to provide the necessary dynamism on services offered and its relevance in terms of problem solving ability in space and in passage of time.

Samples of machines available at the hub

 

2WT Potato harvester  - available at the KENDAT mechanization hub

2WT Potato harvester – available at the KENDAT mechanization hub

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Additional equipment available at the hub includes:

  • Two-wheel tractors
  • 2WT two-row double disk furrow opener planters
  • 2WT single-row tine furrow opener planter
  • 2WT two-row tine opener planter
  • 2WT single-row tine furrow opener planter
  • 2WT multi-row tine furrow opener planter
  • 2WT multi-row strip till planter
  • 2WT two-row tine furrow opener planter
  • 2WT single-row automatic potato planter
  • 2WT single-row semi-automatic potato planter
  • 4WT single-row potato digger
  • 2WT boom sprayer
  • Knapsack sprayer
  • 2WT mini weeder
  • MUST maize/sheller cum thresher & trailer
  • 2WT trailer
  • Interlocking brick making machine