Friday, June 17, 2011

Open day

Nguruman Maarifa Centre participated in an open day organized by the ministry of agriculture, Kajiado north district. The theme for the open day was ‘Empowering communities through Agribusiness’. The event which saw approximately 600 community members participate had lots of activities most of them by the various groups and community members. The open day was held on June 7th, 2011 at one of the selected farm and by 9.00am, community member and other stakeholders started streaming to the venue ready to display their food security measures, value addition and agribusiness skills. Many groups were seen making their final preparations for their presentations and exhibitions. The chief guest was the DAO Isinya Mr. David Kiiru.

The day’s events begun by touring the farm where the participants got to learn about various farming methods like banana propagation, dairy goat keeping, fish farming and value addition to various categories of vegetables and fruits and other important skills. The participants then proceeded to the stands to see various items on display by different stake holders. Nguruman Maarifa center stand was the first at the entrance where registration was done.

On display was information materials like publications, CD Roms and various books found in our library. We also displayed ICT equipments found at our Maarifa center like the wireless enabled laptops used for computer training and internet access.
We also provided internet connection for people who wished to check their mails and other services from the internet and many people were seen using the service alternately. All the participants who visited our stand were impressed by the free services offered at the Maarifa center.

Next to our stand was Ministry Of Agriculture stand where they displayed their extension materials including publications and manuals. They explained measures that have been put in place to improve food production and shared various market opportunities for farmers from this region who were keen on major issues affecting them on their daily farm operations.

The open day saw 10 women groups present different food security measures and agribusiness ventures. Among the groups was Tenebo women group who had a variety of traditional food stuffs which had been added value like cassava queen cakes, pumpkin chapattis, millet cakes, soya cake and sweet potato soap among others. Wendo Museo women group had different varieties of dried traditional vegetables and foods like; cassava, banana, sweet potato and arrow root crisps ready on display. Tuko disabled group was not left out during the exhibitions as they displayed their well knit bead works which included and not limited to bracelets, hand laces, necklaces and decorated belts.

These entire groups didn’t forget to mention their greatest challenge or barriers to success of their groups. Two groups who had the greatest need were Tenebo women group who had a challenge while baking their value added traditional food for they had to rent an oven to do their baking. They made their appeal to the ministry of agriculture to support them for this cause. Snt Ann women group had a challenge while harvesting their fish due to lack of fishing net and market for the harvested fish. They also made an appeal to the ministry of livestock and fisheries to help them source for a fishing net and market for their product.

Other stake holders who came on board to display their products were agrochemical companies like osho chemical industries who had experts ready to address the challenges farmers are facing when it comes to pest management, both in crops and animal production.
They also had variety of chemicals on display and others to sell to interested farmers. Pest control board had also its stand and displayed a wide variety of pest control chemicals used by farmers to maximize their produce at farm level.

Guests were treated to various entertainment items from various groups. Patterson memorial secondary school opened the floor with a song on the importance of farming to Kenyan economy. They also gave chants on female genital mutilation and its effects of abortion in our society that moved the crowd into tears. Entasopia primary school had some educative pieces of entertainment on the importance of girl child education in our society.

To crown up the day’s entertainment were the oretete traditional dancers who performed traditional dances with the crowd joining in leaving the place in a cloud of dust. The guest of honor Mr. Kiiru gave out his inspiring speech where he encouraged farmers to take up innovations which will help them boost their production. He also encouraged farmers to develop a farm business plan with the help of government extension workers within their reach which will help them become good entrepreneurs in their farms.

He recognized the work of Maarifa center in steering development in this area and encouraged community members and other stake holders to utilize then facility to help the community improve their livelihood. The open day ended at 4:30 pm and every participant was confident and happy that the day was well spent.


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