Workshop on Market Participation among Women and the Poor in Kenya
Workshop on Market Participation among Women and the Poor in Kenya
held at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) , Nairobi on May 13, 2010
Poverty in Africa has been found to be a predominantly rural phenomenon. About 75% of the world’s poor are believed to work and live in rural areas and even by 2020, it is estimated that 60% of the poor will still be rural. Among the worst hit in these rural communities are women and those in marginal agricultural production areas. Meeting the challenge of reducing poverty and improving rural incomes in Africa will require some form of transformation out of the semi-subsistence production systems that currently characterizes much of rural Africa to a more commercialized agriculture.
Increased market participation by the poor has been found to be important as a means of breaking from the traditional semi-subsistence farming. It has been argued that market-oriented production can achieve welfare gains through specialization and comparative advantage, economies of scale and regular interaction and exchange of ideas. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable who need this kind of welfare boost may be constrained by several factors in their quest to participate in the market for their goods and services.
Tegemeo Institute of Egerton University, the World Agroforestly Centre (ICRAF) and Makerere University, Uganda have been involved in a study to assess Market Participation among the Poor and Marginalized in Kenya and Uganda. The main objective of the study was to assess the extent of market participation by smallholder farmers in the two countries with a view to identifying potential market opportunities and constraints to participation for the vulnerable and marginalized (e.g. women, poor and those in remote areas) among these rural households. A workshop was organized to share out the findings of the study with key stakeholders with a view to eliciting debate and
feedback from the stakeholders.
The workshop drew participants from a wide spectrum of stakeholders which included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit (ASCU), development partners (FORD Foundation, USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, etc), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), East African Grain Council (EAGC), several CGIAR (ICRAF, IFPRI, ICRISAT, ILRI, CIMMYT etc), a range of NGO’s like World Vision, CNFA/AGMARK, ICRW, TechnoServe, Farm Concern, SNV Netherlands, Pride Africa, K-Rep Development Agency, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), among others, Private sector organizations e.g. Equity bank, Sygenta and Kenya Highland Seed Company, Universities e.g. Makerere University, University of Nairobi, Egerton University, and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) and
Tegemeo Institute .
The workshop was organized into three sessions. The first session covered introduction and
welcoming remarks; the second session included various presentations and plenary discussion;
and the third session covered the panel discussion and way forward.
Session One: Welcome and Introduction
The moderator for the workshop, Dr.Frank Place, welcomed all the participants to the workshop
and invited Dr. Tony Simons, the Deputy Director General for ICRAF; Prof. Alfred Kibor, the
Director of Research, Egerton University; Dr. Susan Kaaria, Programme Officer, the FORD
Foundation; and Dr. Mary Mathenge, Director, Tegemeo Institute, to make their remarks.
- Remarks by the Deputy Director General, ICRAF
Dr. Tony Simons
- Remarks by the Director of Research, Egerton University
Prof. Alfred Kibor
- Remarks by the Programme Officer, the Ford Foundation
Dr. Susan Kaaria
- Workshop highlights by the Director, Tegemeo Institute
Dr. Mary Mathenge
Session Two: Presentations and Plenary Discussions
To chair this session, the moderator invited Mrs. Ann Mbaabu, the Director for Market Access
Programme at AGRA. Mrs. Mbaabu then invited the speakers to make their presentations.
During the first part of this session, three presentations were made successively as follows:
- Introduction and General Characteristics of Marginalized Groups
Dr. Mary Mathenge, Tegemeo Institute
- Market Participation among Women in Kenya
Dr. Dagmar Mithoefer, ICRAF
- Market Participation among the Poor in Kenya
John Olwande, Tegemeo Institute
- Plenary Discussion
After the three presentations which were based on the findings from the project,, Mrs. Mbaabu
thanked the presenters and summarized the main issues that emerged from the presentations. She
then invited comments/questions from the participants.
The second part of the presentations was chaired by Dr. Lilian Kirimi of Tegemeo Institute who
invited the presenters for this session. Two presentations were made during this session:
- Market Participation among Marginalized groups in Uganda (Summary of Key Findings)
Dr. Dick Sserunkuuma, Makerere University
- Linking Farmers to Markets using New Generation ICT Tools: Experiences from Kenya
Dr. Julius Okello, University of Nairobi
Session Three: Panel Discussion
This session was chaired by Dr. Bell Okello from the International Center for Research on
Women (ICRW). He explained that since the researchers had highlighted issues affecting the
poor’s and women’s participation in markets, it was the role of implementers of programs to
come up with best practices of integrating the vulnerable groups (women, poor) into the market.
He explained that the purpose of the panel discussion was to share experiences on best practices
by various organizations working on market access. He read out the question that would guide
the discussion as: “What interventions, given your institutional experience and background,
would have greatest impact at integrating women and the poor in markets for income growth?”
Dr. Okello called upon the panelists to introduce themselves and share their institutions’
experiences in integrating women and the poor into market. The panelists (and the institutions
they represented) were:
key highlights of the experiences by the panelists in areas of interventions by
their respective institutions.
- Dr. Bell Okello (International Center for Research on Women - ICRW)
- Dr. Rosemary Emongor (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute - KARI)
- Pauline Mwangi (TechnoServe)
- Cosmas Kyengo (Sygenta)
- Annastacia Kivuva (Ministry of Agriculture - MOA)
- Jonathan Campaigne (PRIDE Africa)
Presentations by the panelists opened the floor for further discussions on their views.
After the end of the three sessions, Dr. Frank Place led the participants in consolidating the day’s
discussions to come up with a way forward. The following are the issues that needed action:
- Documentation of information on who is doing what so that it can be accessed and used,
sharing of best practices, working together on common commodities, leveraging the work
of others in terms of complementarity, and more private-public dialogue
- Organize round table discussions for stakeholders to map out stakeholders working on
market access and come up with a framework for sharing best practices, instead of
duplication of efforts by various organizations. This would ensure that an organization
will focus on filling the gaps that other organizations have not addressed.
- Establishment of a small working group that will help link up the stakeholders working
on market access for ease of sharing information. It was proposed that Tegemeo and
ICRAF consult and convene an initial meeting of the stakeholders present in the
workshop. In this meeting, the key stakeholders will discuss and agree on how the
working group will be run and how to take ownership.
Proceedings pdf file
Proceedings of the Workshop on Market Participation among Women and the Poor in Rural Kenya