Sustainable Development

PAMACC News (Meru, Kenya) - Armed with a ‘mulika mwizi’ mobile phone gadget, Simon Kailikia, a 33 year old smallholder farmer from Baraimu village, Tigania West in Meru County has been able to triple his farm produce, thanks to a phone based platform known as e-Granary.  

“Once again, we are expecting another bumper harvest in the next few weeks,” Kailikia told the Seeds of Gold as he patrolled his five acre piece of land under maize crop.

It is the fourth season he is using the e-Granary platform, which ensures that registered smallholder farmers have access to quality certified seeds and relevant farm inputs, access to finance (credit) to fund their activities, insurance cover in case of natural calamities, access to information about Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), and above all, access to weather and climate information so that crops are planted at the right time – all on a mobile phone platform.

After the harvest, registered farmers through their groups bring together all their produce and using the mobile platform, they can access the market collectively.

“There is clear evidence that Africa’s full agricultural potential remains untapped due to use of incorrect farm inputs, late planting, use of poor seeds, inadequate financing, lack of structured markets and lack of insurance cover to cushion smallholder farmers whenever they suffer losses based on the changing climatic conditions and related calamities,” said Mutiga Wanjohi, of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

The e-Granary is a commercial solution developed by the East African Farmers Federation (EAFF) to improve social-economic status of smallholder farmers in 10 African countries in collaboration with governments, UN, Nongovernmental organisations and the private sector.

“We strive to effectively organize and aggregate the otherwise dispersed producer base, in order to achieve scale and engage as a significant stakeholder in the agricultural economy,” said Robert Kubai, the Evaluation and Learning Specialist at the EAFF.

According to Kailikia, it is the first time he has seen the benefit of smallholder farming despite having been brought up in a farming family.

“I was brought up in a farming family, and all through my life, I knew that farming was an activity for people who do not have any meaningful work to do,” said Kailikia. “But today, I have come to appreciate that farming is a sustainable business, beyond hand to mouth survival,” he said.

Kailikia says that his life changed when Baraimu Mathio Self Help Group was introduced to the e-Granary. “For all these years, I never knew that the five acre piece of land under my name had such a huge potential,” said the youthful farmer, and the chair of the group.

Before, he used to plant any seed that was available, sometimes without fertilisers and without following recommended agronomic practices.

However, in 2018, after registering with the e-Granary, he received certified maize seed and necessary farm inputs at the right time on credit. Using the mobile phone platform, he received a short message instructing him on when to plant. And later, he was alerted when the time for topdressing came.

“I was shocked because for the first time, I harvested a total of 93 bags from a piece of land where we used to harvest a total of 25 bags or 20 during a good season,” said the farmer.

Through the e-Granary, EAFF linked him to the buyers of his farm produce, who bought it at an impressive price of Sh3500 per bag. “I sold 87 bags and I used the money to construct a shop, which I now lease to my group members as a store for their produce,” he said. He has since constructed a permanent house from farming activities.

Out of the 67 members of Baraimu Mathio Self Help Group, 55 have completely embraced the e-Granary, most of them women and youth.

To benefit from the e-Granary, one has to be a member of a farmer group. Through the group, the farmer has to register to the e-Granary using a given USSD code because many smallholder farmers in rural villages do not own smart phones.

During registration, the farmer gives all the personal details, the size of the land, the location and the particular crops that they intend to farm. Using this information, the e-Granary calculates the amount of fertilisers and related farm inputs that will be required, and then the EAFF identifies where to buy the seeds, and signs a contract with a potential buyer.

With the contract in place, the EAFF is able to approach finance organisations for farmers’ loans in form of seed, farm input and insurance cover. The items are then delivered to the farmer groups, and using the documented farmer information, each farmer receives a customised package. After harvest, it is the farmer’s responsibility to pay back the loans.

“We insist on farmer groups so that farmers, group members can guarantee fellow members when loans are offered, and watch over each other so that no one farmer defaults,” said Kubai.

Today, over 200,000 farmers in the region are using the e-Granary, according to EAFF.


Everlyne Mwende,  a young lady in Kibwezi, Kenya, is passionate about agriculture. Shortly after she participated in an agribusiness incubation programme, Everlyne launched her livestock business with 50 birds in 2020.

The incubation programme was facilitated by the Youth-in Agribusiness compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)  as part of its commitment to stimulating youth-led agribusiness enterprises along agricultural commodity value chains.

Sponsored by the African Development Bank as part of its Feed Africa Initiative, TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight priority intervention areas.


The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity compacts such as cassava, Orange-fleshed sweet potato, aquaculture, small livestock, high iron beans, maize, rice, sorghum and millet, and wheat.

These work with six enabler compacts addressing transversal issues such as soil fertility management, water management, capacity development, policy support, attracting African youth in agribusiness and fall armyworm response.

Evelyne sold the 50 birds at Ksh 500 ($5) per piece translating to Ksh 25,000 ($250). After the sales, she restocked 100 birds for rebreeding. She later expanded her business to include the sale of eggs.

Beyond producing chicken, Everlyne has taken her passion to another level this year. She now mentors other poultry farmers within Kibwezi, building their capacity in good agricultural practices. She equally trains women and youth entrepreneurs for medium-scale poultry enterprises to deliver.

Members of the Bidii Self Help Group, a youth group in Kibwezi, have, since January 2021, engaged Evelyne to train them specifically on poultry and goat farming. She has equally mentored more than five other youth in poultry farming, and her business model has proven to be very efficient.

Evelyne is determined to continue sharing her production and business knowledge with other youth in her community and around Kenya. She will also be selling more chicks to farmers hence adding to her revenue streams.

According to Noel Mulinganya, the Leader of the Youth in Agribusiness compact, which is also known as ENABLE-TAAT (Empowering Novel Agribusiness-led Employment), “Evelyne’s resourcefulness affirms the efficacy of ENABLE-TAAT’s “Train-the-trainers” initiative. Through this initiative, benefitting youth are trained to become trainers in their local communities, thus creating a network of young people who have the skills and capacity to contribute to agricultural transformation in Africa.”

“More of such stories are budding, as the compact continues to track the record of previously trained youth,” Noel added.

It would be recalled that a similar “Train-the-Trainers” seminar, organised by the compact, held in March 2021 with youth participants from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The youth were motivated to replicate the knowledge they received from ENABLE-TAAT in their communities as young instigators of African agricultural transformation.

Led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA),  ENABLE-TAAT provides capacity building and technical assistance to establish and expand youth-led agribusiness enterprises along TAAT value chains such as high iron beans, cassava, fish, maize, small livestock, rice and orange-fleshed sweet potato.


NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Two pan African champions for a food secure Africa have been named among the 100 most reputable people on earth and most reputable CEOs on the continent in the year 2020.

Dr Agnes Kalibata, who joined the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as the President in September 2014 has been working closely with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.

Likewise, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for Nigeria, and currently the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) since May 2015 has been a champion of the ‘High Five,’ which is a five tier point strategy to Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Both Kalibata and Adesina have shared several panels in different forums with a common message, that Africa can feed itself, and as well, the continent can become a net exporter of food. They have constantly pushed for investment in smallholder farmers, women and the youth.

In one of the forums – the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Conference, Dr Kalibata pointed out that it is important to “invest in modern technologies and give the youth and women more resources to venture into productive agriculture.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Dr Adesina, who said: “To achieve food sufficiency and turn the continent into a net food exporter, Africa must empower smallholder farmers, who constitute 70% of the population and produce 80% of the food consumed in the continent.”

The two leaders were mentioned through a Reputation Poll, known globally for its annual ranking of the 100 Most Reputable People on Earth and Most Reputable CEOs in various countries.

Dr. Kalibata said she was “thrilled to be included among this list of African changemakers. My inclusion in this list is due in large part to the excellence of the team and partners I have around me who believe strongly that change can and will come to African agriculture.”

Under her leadership, AGRA is working to increase the incomes and improve food security for 30 million farming households in 11 African countries by 2021 through targeted investments to strengthen three core areas: Support to institutional capacity and a stronger policy reform environment; Stronger input delivery systems in agriculture: and Growing public/private partnerships for inclusive agricultural growth.

Other leaders on the list who have made noticeable impact in terms of food security in their countries include H. E Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Since 2017, Rwanda has led the top 10 best performers among Africa Union member States that were found to be on track towards achieving the commitments set out in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) known as the ‘Malabo Declaration.’

CAADP is an African-led agenda designed to guide Africa’s agricultural transformation for sustained food security and socio-economic growth.

The 2014 Malabo Declaration is a re-commitment to the CAADP principles adopted by AU Heads of State and Government to provide effective leadership for the attainment of specific goals by the year 2025, including ending hunger, tripling intra-African trade in agricultural goods and services, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems, and ensuring that agriculture contributes significantly to poverty reduction.

The leaders were selected alongside other great Africans who are celebrated for their Social Impact, as well as Social Entrepreneurship, that are transforming businesses in Africa and affecting lives positively without controversy.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - The Cameroon government has issued a decree No 20203216 of 14thJuly 2020 to log Ebo Forest, destroying one of the rare natural forest ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea, stretching over 2000km2 and known to be a massive biodiversity hotspot and stocking millions of tonnes of carbon.

The decree signed by the Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute gives a go ahead to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to exploit 85,000 hectares of the 150,000 hectares of the Ebo Forest, located in the Littoral region of Cameroon amidst multiple protests by the local population and international forest rights organizations.

At a press briefing in Yaounde July 22,2020, to explain the raison d’etre of the decision, the Minister of forestry and wildlife Jules Doret Ndongo said  “the logging concessions to be exploited in the Ebo Forest are neither occupied nor exploited by the people of the region concerned.’’

 According to the Minister the government was quite aware of the worries of the riparian communities around the forest area and ‘the protection their interest has been taken into consideration’.

 He assured that the government will respect its forest conservation policy while carrying out timber extraction needed to boost the economy [swell state coffers] .

The government also said it rejected a request in June 2020 for tax reduction made by the loggers’ association GFBC. The logging sector complained their activities have been grounded by the effects of corona-virus.

Also reacting to the tax reduction request by the loggers association, Greenpeace Forest Campaign Manager for Africa in Cameroon, Ranèce Jovial Ndjeudja in a letter said,

 “The real problem underlying the logging industry is not its current failures to pay taxes, but its ongoing contribution to human rights violations and destroying the planet. Giving tax breaks to logging companies might mean public funding for our next pandemic”.

“We must protect nature so nature protects us. The current distress of the logging sector is a good opportunity to rebuild our economy into sustainable sectors that neither exacerbates the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis nor threatens our health”, Ndjeudja concludes.

The riparian Ebo forest communities of Yabassi, Yingui, Ngambe and Ndikiniméki debunk the government’s claim of their non expliotation of the affected areas and the protection of their interest. The forest communities say they use the resources of this rich biodiversity for food, health care and cultural activities.

Environmentalists say the Ebo forest is biodiversity with over 35 million tonnes of carbon and home to over 12 tree species yet unknown to science.

 The forest also host chimpanzees, forest elephants, grey parrots and other species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species.

‘Apart from its rich and vast forest expands Ebo forest is also home of the world's only chimpanzees that both fish for termites and crack nuts; a small population of gorillas that may be a new subspecies; and one of only two remaining populations of Preuss's Red Colobus, a Critically Endangered Monkey. Ebo Forest also makes up one half of a Key Biodiversity Area, making it a site of global importance to the planet's overall health ,’’ says Ekwoge Abwe Enang, Assistant Monitoring Coordinator at WCS- Ebo Forest Research Project.

It is home to at least 160 species of birds, most of which are unique to Ebo he says.

The Cameroon government had since 2006 announced its intention to transform the Ebo forest into a national park, a promised that was saluted by the local population and the international community.

Now with decree the local residents fear the exploitation of the concessions in the Ebo Forest will deal a fatal blow to the national park project and Forest as a whole.

Environmentalists also fear the decree comes to aggravate the situation of forest disappearance and consequently climate change threats in the country.
Already over eight agro-industrial plantations that operating in Cameroon (HEVECAM, SUDCAM, SOCAPALM, PHP, BIOPALM, SEMRY, RUBBERCAM, SOSUCAM) have disturbing record of forest destruction, land grabbing, abuses of human rights and environmental crimes that have rendered the climate crisis worrisome.

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