In a classic example of how public private partnership can work for the benefit of the economy and its countrymen, Elgon Kenya Limited has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture to launch The National Farmers Award, the first of their kind in the country and region, meant to celebrate the country’s unsung heroes who have surmounted odds to provide for millions and oil the economy.
Kenyan farmers have been among the region’s most unlucky. From erratic supply and price of fertilizer in recent times, to late delivery of planting materials like seeds which has ultimately affected planting and harvesting seasons, and lack of ready markets, the farmers have nevertherless braved new and emerging challenges to keep a trade and a profession going.
Elgon Kenya Limited, a regional agro input behemoth, inspired by the hardwork of the millions of smallholder farmers has sought to reward them in an yearly basis, working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture. “We have sought to return the dignity of the soil and appreciate the immense contribution that goes into placing food in the table of millions of Kenyan families. With these awards, we just dont want people to enjoy their meals. We want them to also remember what goes on in the production of that food. From the first seed planted to the bunch they buy in the markets,” said Bimal Kantaria Elgon Kenya Director.
The National Farmers Competition Award Scheme 2013, will replace the famous “Presidential Farmers’ Competitions Award Scheme” which the Ministry has been conducting annually covering all the provinces in three competition categories namely: Large Scale Mixed Farms, Small Scale Mixed farms and the Agricultural Training Centres.
It will be the responsibility of the interested parties to the competition to prove their level of investment and turnover per year.
And in a bid to prove that their kind of farming is all inclusive and responsible, the competitors especially those in the large scale farm categories will be graded on their level of commitment to environmental protection, climate change mitigation measures, and working environment improvement issues among other criteria.
Public farms that feel qualified like the Agricultural Training centres, and Prisons farms are also encouraged to apply.
“We hope to keep improving the awards every year but we are overly excited with this one. We have received very impressive number of entries and we are still receiving more. This is not just rewarding farmers, it is also playing our part as a company to make the world a better place,”said Nelson Maina the Head of Communication at Elgon Kenya.
Kenya’s agricultural sector is the nerve of the economy contributing a quarter of the country’s earning and employing over 75 percent of the population both directly and indirectly. Exports from the sector are relied upon by the government in delivery of important public services.