INTRODUCTION OF TISSUE CULTURE BANANA TECHNOLOGIES AND THEIR IMPACT ON PRODUCER WELLBEING
A five-year project aimed to improve smallholders income and food security through dissemination of suitable crop technologies was conducted in eight districts in the Eastern Province of Kenya. The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) introduced new tissue culture (TC) banana (Musa spp.) cultivars and trained farmers through farmer field schools. On-farm trials evaluated TC cultivars which were then chosen using farmers own selection criteria. TC banana hardening nurseries were also established in some selected locations. The Horticultural Crop Development Authority (HCDA) on the other hand assisted farmer groups when signing marketing contracts with exporters and introduced them to genuine contractors. It also regularly disseminated market price data, developed production and business plans, assisted with construction of produce collection and grading sheds, sanitation, and watering points, and trained on marketing skills and good agricultural practices (GAP). Training and field demonstrations by the Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI) aimed at increasing produce value and shelf-life to attract better prices and reduce postharvest losses, and helping identify value addition technologies at affordable prices. KARDI also liaised with the private sector for replication of prototypes, and training on the maintenance and installation of processing equipment. The success of technology uptake in the project was evaluated through field surveys, which indicated increased demand for TC banana as an enterprise with larger acreage registered amongst farmer group members. Positive impacts by the end of the project were farmers abilities to choose preferred TC cultivars, increased income, improved living standards and less need for food aid. Other positive outcomes included improved and timely loan repayments by growers, less exposure to pesticides and lower labor demand.
Anyango, J.J., Wambugu, F.M., Nkanya, J., Kyalo, G. and Onyango, C. (2010). INTRODUCTION OF TISSUE CULTURE BANANA TECHNOLOGIES AND THEIR IMPACT ON PRODUCER WELLBEING. Acta Hortic. 879, 767-772
farmer field schools, marketing contracts, technology uptake, shelf-life, value addition