July 9, 2018, Nairobi. This year’s National Farmers Award has officially kicked off with the Ministry of Agriculture officials distributing the forms across the counties. The form distribution exercise will run up to end of July and farmers are encouraged to apply.
The awards, a partnership between agro input company Elgon Kenya Limited and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, has grown to be an important event in the country’s farming calendar since it was first launched in 2013 having created a host of soil celebrities.
Winners in the youth, women and physically challenged are rewarded by the President at the Nairobi International Trade Fair and a gala dinner with top government officials organized for all the winners.
The pioneer edition received 8,000 applicants, with the number now having more than tripled attracting entries from over 40 counties.
Winners are clustered into nine categories including persons with disability, women, youth and large scale farms.
Through working with both national and county governments, the scheme has reached farmers in every corner of the country whose heartwarming stories embody the spirit of ordinary people surmounting numerous odds to deliver extraordinary results.
The national fete while romanticizing agriculture as a rewarding endeavour, has spurred talk and action on making life easier for food producers to feed a growing population that is already putting strain on food availability. The awards have also been pivtoal in shifting
discussion from boardrooms to a central meeting point between ordinary farmers and other key players in the sector including government and private sector players.
Past winners have gone on to create agricultural empires that are not only benefitting them but entire communities and getting attention beyond the country. Such testimonies rubberstamp what the awards set out to do; to create a network of model farmers across the country who would be ambassadors of the country’s food security, influencing many more into sustainable farming.
The thirst for farmers’ recognition as evidenced in the huge number of applicants paints a tale of a group that has for long been forgotten in crucial debates but which deserves more attention now more than ever when the dynamics of food production globally are shifting in favour of developing countries.
The number of young people venturing into farming has grown tremendously as evidenced by the large number of applicants in the youth category over the years, an encouraging feat considering youth are the future food producers.
The 2018 categories include largescale farm, large scale agro dealer, small-scale farm gearing towards commercialization, small scale farmer fully commercialized, small scale agro input dealer, large scale agro input dealer, large scale fully commercialized floriculture, youth in Agriculture, women in Agriculture and physically challenged.
Other key sponsors of the scheme are Nation Media Group through Seeds of Gold, Bayer East Africa, UPL, Arysta, Excel Crop Care Limited, BASF and FMC.
Entry forms can be collected at Ministry of Agriculture offices, county offices, Nation Media’s seeds of gold and can also be accessed online through these websites.