Small-holder farmers play an important role in agricultural value chains. By investing resources into improved practices for growing, processing and storing their harvests, farmers can increase the quantity and quality of their crops, allowing them to maximize the benefits from their production. These benefits are multiplied when farmers work together through farmer organizations.
Changing climate conditions can threaten crop production. LWR complements its efforts to improve agronomic practices by promoting climate smart agriculture techniques, such as agroforestry, ripping, soil conservation and nutrient management, sustainable water access and use, integrated pest management, crop diversification, and the promotion of drought-resistant crop varieties.
LWR works with farmer organizations to strengthen their technical and organizational capacities so that they can provide sustainable, equitable and quality services to their members. Working together with partners, LWR develops action plans adapted to the specific capacity strengthening needs of each organization. Plans are often focused on transparency and governance, policies and procedures, and the provision of services such as agricultural extension, access to credit, discounted inputs and sales to a higher value market.
Such services increase farmer crop productivity and income, demonstrating the value of collective action and increasing the willingness of farmers to pay for such services. This in turn supports the operational sustainability of farmer organizations.
With the initial generous funding of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Lutherans and WFP, LWR has been supporting smallholder farmers in Makueni County since 2008 to help them cope with drought conditions. Interventions include cash-for-work initiatives to help rehabilitate local irrigation systems and to help restore land assets. LWR has continued to invest in longer-term livelihood recovery activities to help local communities avert further crisis by increasing food production through improved irrigation, soil and water conservation practices, and stronger local management and technical skills.
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