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From zero to 250,000kg of sweet potato
Ramping up the Sweet Potato Run: Enhancing Quality, Reducing Losses, and Empowering Farmers in Siaya
In our mission to empower farmers to access the market to utilize their hard work in the fields fully: with our partners Duhqa, eProd Solutions and KOAN we have embarked on a groundbreaking pilot to bring the sweet potatoes market to Nairobi. This article explores our journey of ramping up a 250,000kg sweet potato run, paying farmers a decent price, and utilizing the entire harvest while minimizing post-harvest losses. By prioritizing quality, training, and traceability, we aim to create a sustainable and prosperous future for farmers and consumers alike. For us it is still hard to imagine, that we started just back in January!
Training for Quality
Equipping farmers for success and recognizing quality's crucial role in meeting market demands. MOTHERLAND with KOAN took the initiative to provide specialized training to selected Trainer of Farmers (TOFs) from the community. These TOFs underwent comprehensive quality control and management training, enabling them to impart essential knowledge to the farmers. The training focused on safe harvest practices, emphasizing the importance of avoiding cuts, bruises, and damages that can affect the quality of sweet potatoes. By investing in quality training, we ensure that farmers are equipped with the skills to produce high-quality sweet potatoes that meet market standards.
Test Run and Insights: Paving the Way for Success
To gain valuable insights and fine-tune our operations, our team recently conducted a test run of the sweet potato project. The test run involved procuring and offtaking up to 1000 kilograms of sweet potatoes from dedicated farmers. This milestone was a crucial stepping stone towards a future where our efforts bear fruit. Through the test run, we aimed to understand the intricacies of the process, identify potential challenges, and gather insights to refine our operations. One major takeaway from this experience was the urgent need to provide quality training to farmers on safe harvest practices. This insight has laid the foundation for our upcoming farmer quality training sessions to address this vital aspect.
Expanding Offtake and Commitment: Scaling Up for Success
Building on the success of the test run, we are thrilled to announce the expansion of our offtake operations. Starting mid-July, our off-takers will purchase up to 21 tonnes of sweet potatoes weekly, depending on the harvest. This milestone is a testament to our commitment to farmers and our dedication to driving positive change in our MOTHERLAND communities. We express our deep gratitude to our partner organizations, including Duhqa, eProd Solutions Limited, and KOAN, as well as the entire team for their relentless efforts in achieving this success. Through their resilience and passion, we have been inspired to push boundaries and create a significant impact in the agricultural sector.
Traceability and Startup Technology: Ensuring Transparency and Trust
In today's world, traceability is vital in ensuring transparency and accountability within supply chains. To address this need, we are excited to introduce personalized identity cards developed by eProd in our sweet potato project. These identity cards are more than just recognition; they are gateways to a traceable agricultural ecosystem. By assigning unique identifiers to each farmer, we establish a robust system that tracks the journey of every sweet potato from farm to table. Our fully digital process, incorporating ID cards, a digital Bluetooth-enabled scale, the eProd ERP system, and seamless payment via M-Pesa, worked flawlessly in the test run. The farmer received their money in their M-Pesa account right after their delivery. This integration of technology enhances efficiency and traceability, allowing us to ensure the integrity of our supply chain. With enhanced traceability, we can guarantee the origin and quality of our products, build trust with our off-takers and partner startups, and ensure a sustainable and transparent agricultural system. Moreover, introducing these identity cards symbolizes recognition, empowerment, and belonging for the farmers, opening up a world of opportunities for them. By embracing technology and traceability, we pave the way for a more accountable, sustainable, and inclusive agricultural sector.
The Importance of Quality: A Cornerstone of Our Mission
Quality takes centre stage as MOTHERLAND embarks on the journey to empower farmers and bring about positive change among sweet potato growers in Siaya. Ensuring that our off-takers receive sweet potatoes that adhere to their specific standards and are nothing short of perfect is paramount. Quality assurance of sweet potatoes begins right from the moment seedlings are planted through the entire growth process and extends to the harvest and post-harvest handling. It encompasses various factors such as size, maturity, taut skin, freedom from termite infestation, absence of cracks or cuts, and, most importantly, taste, texture, nutritional value, and safety. Achieving the desired quality requires collaboration among farmers and stakeholders.
The ramping up of the 250,000kg sweet potato run to Nairobi represents a significant milestone in empowering farmers and laying the groundwork for the economic development towards self-sufficiency, self-reliance, for a good future.
MOTHERLAND, together with our partners Duhqa, ePord Solutions, and KOAN are driving positive change and creating a sustainable future through a focus on quality, training, and traceability. By paying farmers a decent price, reducing post-harvest losses, and ensuring the highest quality standards, we aim to provide consumers with exceptional sweet potatoes while empowering farmers to thrive. Together with our partners and stakeholders, we are building a brighter future for agriculture in Nairobi. Our collective efforts can transform the agricultural landscape, enhance farmers' livelihoods, and contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous society.
Call to Action
Our team in Siaya and Germany are working relentlessly to make the impact for the people of Siaya a reality. With our pilot, the first value chain, and the sweet potato run, we are already tremendously impacting the people. During my last visit to Siaya, it became clear that we enable parents to send their kids to school regularly by providing them with a reasonable income for their hard work in the fields to cover the school fees.
If you want to become a supporter or partner in MOTHERLAND, don't hesitate to contact Sebastian, Thomas or Diana to explore the opportunities to bring MOTHERLAND to thousands of people and create a sustainable impact for a better livelihood and a good future!