Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Access to library sharpens students’ dreams

At the height of teachers’ strike which paralysed learning across the country, Nguruman Maarifa library was a beehive of activities seeing students coming from far and wide for their private studies while others borrowed books for reading at home. Being the only resource centre around Nguruman with curriculum textbooks and other relevant reading materials, students flocked to have access to the library resources. 

Monica Mwangi, form three student at Patterson memorial studying at the Maarifa centre library
Fanklin Saitoti, a form one student at Patterson Memorial Secondary School said that, though teachers strike had a negative effect on their studies, he had an opportunity to utilize the Maarifa centre library to do his studies… “I have been using the Maarifa centre library to read ahead of the teacher and I trust this will help me catch up with what my teachers will teach when studies resume… this has also kept me busy and helped me refrain from bad company…” added Frank.

Emmanuel Kimeu, a form three student at the same school had a different version of the story… “I have learned how to use computers from the Maarifa centre and when I feel tired after reading at the centres’ library, I take 20 minutes to get to social media and connect with my on-line friends before embarking to my studies… Thanks to the supporters of the facility…” He added.

One of the teachers, Mrs Maureen Omondi who has always been following to know whether the students are utilizing the facility backed the initiative and wished all students could realize its importance… “I have my thumps up for students who are utilizing the facility and I wish to encourage all students to make use of the facility… thanks to ALIN for the initiative and support…” she added…

The same sentiments have been echoed by local leaders while addressing community members during a past event. Mr Kamango ole Nkaleyia during the re-launch of the Maarifa centre encouraged the community members have hands on with the modern technology otherwise ‘they will remain in darkness while the other world is enjoying light’…” Senior Chief Mr. Sereu also encouraged community members to utilize the facility sighting that, he is one of the beneficiaries since he has been a computer student and was graduating after completing his training… “I have received this certificate today because I have qualified and have every reason to invite you for the same…” he said holding high his certificate.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Linking Farmers to Exporters

Farmers in Nguruman must begin approaching production from a business point of view. The District Agricultural Officer Mr. Henry Siro advised farmers that agriculture as a livelihood practice, it should be able to provide profits to the farmers otherwise it’s a futile endeavor.

He was speaking at a meeting organized by Nguruman Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA) that brought together farmers, Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) representatives, Exporters, Brokers and the Ministry of Agriculture to address low crop prices and market problems facing horticultural produce for export.

Mr. Henry Siro, D.A.O addressing farmers and exporters during a meeting. Photo by Joshua Kisemei
He said that farmers in Nguruman have Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and the Ministry to educate them and guide them on how to practice profitable farming. He also urged the exporters to buy products in a price that will benefit farmers.

Mr. Joseph Sirai, IWUA chair, in the introductions said that the market structures for horticultural produce in Nguruman was efficient a few years back but brokers and other intermediaries have spoiled the market and crop prices.

Makindu Growers and Packers, the main exporters in Nguruman, complained that produce from farmers are not stable since farmers sell to brokers when their prices are high. The exporter complained that farmers are not giving the recommended harvest period for chemicals sprayed. He recommended that for produce to be competitive in the market and to fetch good prices, it should be of good quality.

Farmers requested that a plan of action should be put in place to develop ways that the market for horticultural produce will be streamlined so that they can benefit from their farm produce. Farmers should have contracts with their brokers and exporters to balance the supply and prices.

HCDA announced the enforcing of laws regarding the registration of all agents operating in horticultural produce has been enacted. They instructed all agents and brokers working in Nguruman to register before 31st October 2012. All agents will be required to present a list of the farmers supplying them with produce. Those farmers who do not want to register under an agent can join farmer groups and sell directly to the exporters.

The farmers agreed to abide with the set rules and in one voice promised to work with relevant authorities to address the issue of middle men who make a kill out of their produce while they suffer losses.