Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

From Fields to Flour: Machakos Farmer Transforms Agriculture with Value-Added Produce (Kenya)

Meet Victoria Mumo, the visionary small-scale farmer from Kithimani village, Yatta subcounty, Machakos county, who is not just cultivating crops but crafting a sustainable future. Victoria has mastered the art of adding value to her farm produce, turning orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and lemon grass into lucrative ventures that not only fill her pockets but nourish her community.

A Symphony of Value: The Transformational Journey of Victoria Mumo

Victoria’s journey begins with her membership in the Machakos Organic Farmers Cooperative Society, where she practices organic farming on her two-acre land. Driven by a desire to break even and extract value from her hard work, she embarked on a transformative path.

“I’ve been a farmer for many years, but I was not getting value for my money,” she shares. It was the guidance and support from the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) that unlocked the doors to prosperity and opened new opportunities for her.

Mito Magic: Traditional Vegetables and Health Benefits

In addition to sweet potatoes and lemon grass, Victoria adds value to mito (slenderleaf) seeds, a traditional vegetable boasting numerous health benefits. Mito aids in improving blood flow, cleansing, enhancing eye health, strengthening bones, nourishing the skin, boosting immunity, serving as fodder, and providing a nutrient-rich, high-fiber solution for digestive problems.

Her dedication to the craft earned her a spot at the African Women Agroecology Expo at Makerere University in Kampala, where women from Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe showcased their organic products.

Nutrient-Rich Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potatoes: A Vital Crop in Kenya

According to Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are a treasure trove of beta carotene, converting into vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is essential for a robust immune system, making sweet potatoes a critical food source.

Data from a situational analysis report on orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) in Kenya showcases its significance. The crop’s production area grew from 20,181 hectares in 2009 to 22,989 hectares in 2011, yielding 1,000,267 tonnes valued at Sh7.6 billion.

Crafting Flour and Powder: The Culinary Alchemy of Victoria Mumo

Victoria takes you through the meticulous process of creating her renowned sweet potato flour. From quality seed selection to hygiene-focused planting and harvesting, she ensures that every step maintains the integrity of her produce. The resulting flour, sold locally or at agricultural expos, is versatile, offering delicious possibilities in porridge, chapati, or ugali.

The pricing reflects the value and quality—Sh200 for 250gm, Sh400 for 500gm, and Sh800 for one kilo. But Victoria’s offerings don’t stop there; she introduces lemon grass powder, perfect for tea lovers. A 250gm packet is priced at Sh350, 500gm at Sh700, and 1kg at Sh1,400.

Empowering Women in Agroecology: A Commitment to Sustainable Farming

Rosinah Mbenya, the country coordinator for Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association-Kenya, emphasizes the crucial role women play in agroecology. Recognizing their contributions to knowledge, food security, nutrition, and sustainable development, she advocates for empowering women in decision-making processes and leadership roles.

In conclusion, Victoria Mumo’s story is a testament to the transformative power of value addition in agriculture. From fields to flour, she’s not just cultivating crops; she’s sowing the seeds of a sustainable and prosperous future for herself and her community.

Original article written by AGATHA NGOTHO

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