KENAFF COVID-19 Response Adaptation and Resilience Building; 2020 - 2021

From the onset of COVID-19 outbreak in Kenya, the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) prioritised the welfare of its members and the farmers of Kenya at large. In a bid to respond to the pandemic and complement what is being done by the national government, county governments as well as intergovernmental organizations, KENAFF developed a COVID-19 Emergency Response plan that has evolved to an Adaptation and Resilience Building plan as we live through the ‘new normal’.

The overall objective of the KENAFF Emergency Response to COVID-19 was twofold:

(i) provide the farmers of Kenya with precise and farmer-driven information and other resources necessary to support the containment of the spread of COVID-19 and

(ii) support farmers adapt and build resilience for life after COVID-19.

The plan had four key components including:

Information dissemination and knowledge sharing
KENAFF rolled out response by way of intensive communication campaigns comprising media appearances (press statements, radio and TV talk shows, and radio and TV interviews) by KENAFF County chairpersons and enhanced activity on the federation’s Social Media accounts and outreach to county governments. KENAFF is continuously curating information from Kenya’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization and cascading to its County Association leaders and networks with far reaching impacts.

In the pursuit of fulfilling her mandate to represent, articulate, protect and promote the interests of Kenyan farmers, the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) has developed a dedicated USSD code environment on the Safaricom network just targeted to farmers. Through the code, KENAFF is providing easily accessible and farmer-focused information and up-to-date knowledge on COVID-19 mitigation, adaptation and resilience building. The platform also shares information on markets and market facilitation services, weather information and technical advisory services. Through the platform, KENAFF envisages to reach about 1,000,000 farmers by the end of December, 2021. 

Engagement with the Government of Kenya
KENAFF has been echoing, relaying and complementing all government efforts aimed at fighting COVID-19 in Kenya. However, the federation continuous to engage both county and
national governments over several matters that are key for farmers to build back better. KENAFF lobbied for: the designation of produce markets, farm inputs shops and vet services as essential services –a recommendation that was granted by the government; creation of “Green Corridors” through which farmers can bring produce to the market or directly to consumers; enhanced focus on rural areas, where most farmers are; but also where the health infrastructure is at its weakest; directing the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to adjust loan facilities for farmers who might, otherwise, face serious challenges in the service of their credit facilities and factoring such unknowable emergencies into all agricultural development blueprints and general development frameworks in Kenya.

Market facilitation
With the farmers’ produce market system in Kenya disrupted from the onset of the pandemic, KENAFF deployed technology as well as the federation’s wide reach at the grassroots to generate data that is continuously being distilled into market intelligence and information. The federation provides market information and intelligence: that is shared with farmers, leaders and KENAFF staff to help facilitate linkages to markets. Additionally, KENAFF builds capacity of more of her members to adopt contract farming and, take up agricultural insurance. This component has seen market data collected and analysed on priority value chains (as per the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy) for the target counties, partnerships entered into between counties that have potatoes as a priority value chain and the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) for market support services, memorandum of understanding entered between counties with dairy as a priority value chain with the Kenya Livestock Breeders Association (KLBA) for quality assurance during dairy cow sales among other framework partnerships.

Strategic support
The Federation is also in the process of reviving the imperatives of the Farmers Fighting Poverty (FFP) business development enterprises launched in the year 2010 to support the then KENAFF Area Branches (now County Associations) establish economic independence. This crisis presented an opportune moment to revive this by supporting counties to leverage their respective competitive advantages. KENAFF nurture farmers’ initiated and owned micro projects. The micro projects are identified, developed and managed by the KENAFF County Associations. Funds are sent directly to the County Association Accounts as seed capital to jump start the process. Presently, the micro projects are running in Homabay, Siaya, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Nakuru, Bomet, Kericho, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Busia, Kakamega, Meru and Garissa counties. The micro projects are based on the predominant farming activities in the respective counties and they include; tree and vegetable nurseries, apiculture projects, poultry projects, fodder and forage production and feed milling. The micro projects accelerate growth in rural areas, create employment and engage youths and women in productive activities. Other than alleviate poverty and empower farmers, these micro projects and promotion of Kitchen Gardens by the federation go a long way in improving the nutrition status of households in a bid to boost immunity of in the wake of COVID-19.