Agrimech has progressed her Director’s accumulated 50 years (plus) experience working at the technology transfer frontline, among smallholder farmers. The company has made unique and exemplary progress in its heart of positively changing the livelihoods of farmers. Agrimech has made observable and impactful strides in two key progress areas:
• Pioneering in Conservation and Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Development and Support.
• Developing a successful Mechanization Business Model (AMSH)
- To support farmers to adopt agricultural mechanization at all stages of their crop and livestock value-chains.
- To help farmers increase their economies of scale and to reduce their crop and livestock production costs.
- To facilitate the removal of excessive drudgery in farming operations, especially for women farmers.
- To make farming workable and attractive, to create employment for the youth.
- To enable farmers to increase their land productivity, crop yields and produce volumes available at the market place in a timely manner.
- To inculcate Climate Smart Agriculture in small holder farming systems.
Much progress has been made in Africa in the areas of Soil Health (Fertilization) and Quality Seed, especially for cereal crops. The missing and (historically) neglected INPUT in Africa has been Agricultural Mechanization!
Mechanization is a crucial input for agricultural crop production. With poor or no farm power in form of mechanization, farmers:
- Compromise the ability to cultivate sufficient land, a source of poverty, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Are limited in the tasks they can undertake and the timeliness of these tasks.
- Are limited in the size of area they can farm, to produce greater quantities of crops while conserving natural resources.
- Are limited in the efficiency with which they can carry out their various farming operations e.g. placing fertilizer at the right distance from the seed, during mechanized planting.
- Miss the opportunity to applying new technologies that are environmentally friendly, to enable farmers to produce crops more efficiently by using less power.
- Are unable to attract the youth to farming, to remove work burden from women farmers. Sustainable agricultural mechanization can also contribute significantly to the development of value chains and food systems as it has the potential to render postharvest, processing and marketing activities and functions more efficient, effective and environmentally friendly.
Sustainable mechanization can:
- support opportunities that relieve the burden of labour shortages and enable households to withstand shocks better;
- decrease the environmental footprint of agriculture when combined with adequate conservation agriculture practices; and
- reduce poverty and achieve food security while improving people's livelihoods. Adapted from FAO
Agrimech was founded by the top two retiring founders of a highly successful local 28-year-old NGO, the Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (KENDAT). As they retired the Agrimech Directors found it worthwhile to put to business, the intellectual capital gained from some 30 years of agricultural technology transfer work, from the private sector perspective. This way they believed, sustainability would have a true chance.
Under KENDAT the Agrimech Directors managed several large projects in the areas of agricultural farm power and technology transfer, intermediate means of transport, horticulture value-chain logistics and marketing (linking farmers to markets), Conservation Farming and others. They managed to sustain the organization at an average of US$ 1 million worth of project funding over 15 years. The organization supported an average of 24 full-time workers, among various project consultants and casual workers. Some 28 years on, KENDAT is going strong. The Agrimech MD seats in the KENDAT Board and has continued to bid for common projects, some between the two organizations.
The development towards registering Agrimech constituted an effort KENDAT had attempted for several years. The initiative was to separate the bankable private sector work from the NGO work. Agrimech initiatives formed the official transition of making real this much needed transition. The transition was supported by two ongoing projects, during which the Agricultural Mechanization Services Hub (AMSH) Business Model was tested