ASAL-APRP reviews its activities with farmers’ groups and partners

Reported by John Ayemba and Rachael Kisilu (KALRO-Katumani)
Reviewed by Rahab Muinga, Knowledge and Information (KALRO-HQ)

The Arid and Semi-arid lands Agricultural Productivity Research Project (ASAL APRP) is a five-year Project (2012-2017) funded by the Government of Kenya and the European Union under the Kenya Rural Development Programme (KRDP). ASAL-APRP succeeded the Kenya Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Research Programme (KASAL) which was implemented by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) from 2007-2011. It built on the achievements of KASAL and also developed new technologies, information and knowledge suitable for the ASAL areas. The project has four Result Areas (Capacity Building, Food and Nutrition, Livestock Productivity and Up-Scaling/Out-scaling).

The Project carried out an extensive evaluation of its activities within centres and those carried out on its behalf by farmers’ groups and partners. During the visits, the Project Coordinator who was also the team leader Dr George Keya explained the sources of funding as being from the Government of Kenya and Donors to KALRO. Using the funds, KALRO aimed to develop and improve agricultural technologies in food crops, natural resources management and socioeconomics working with select farmers’ groups and partners for wide dissemination.

Dr Keya explained that the main aim of the visits was to assess progress, identify challenges and shortcomings and how to address them and chart the way forward from the lessons and experiences learnt. He encouraged partners, especially farmers to candidly participate without fear.

The visits started with a briefing at KALRO-Katumani on 17 October 2016 followed by the first field destination, the Utithini Women Orphan Child Care Group in Masii sub-County in Machakos.

An umbrella of farmers’ groups in Ikaasu of Kathonzweni sub-County in Makueni contracted by the Smart Logistics field staff and Mbuvo Cassava Commercial Village were the teams’ second destination on 18 October 2016. Other trial sites visited were the greengram, sorghum and cassava seed multiplication farm at the Kiboko, Katumani sub-Centre.

The Team also visited the Catholic Diocese of Kitui referred to as CARITAS where it was briefed of the activities carried out by the partner on behalf of ASAL-APRP before visiting a chicken farmer, one farmers’ group and the Chanika Disabled Self Help Group. CARITAS gets backstopping from ASAL-APRP through KALRO-Katumani and works with another 52 groups in Kitui on various technologies.

The review team comprised of staff from KALRO-HQ (Dr Beatrice Salasya, Irene Kimani, Jackline Langat and Nancy Wele-Shabaan) and Katumani Centre. Also in the team were and from KALRO-HQ while the Katumani team (Dr Noah Wawire – Director, Agricultural Mechanisation Research Institute, Dr Phillip Leley - KALRO-Katumani Centre Director, Dr Daniel Mutisya - Deputy CD, Dr Clement Kamau - ASAL-APRP Katumani coordinator, Rachael Kisilu and component Principal Investigators (PI), among others).

The team wound up its review mission on 21 October 2016 with visits to Smart Logistics Offices and Kiara Cassava Processing Industry in Machakos.