Original Source: Rabobank Foundation

How do you convince Kenyan farmers that investing in higher-quality seeds and organic pesticides boosts yields, resulting in higher income? The answer: by helping them to experience it firsthand.

Of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, six are in Africa. Against this backdrop, international companies are finding opportunities to enter the African market and contribute at a local level to issues such as sustainability and food security. In 2016, two Netherlands-based companies teamed up with Dutch development organization SNV to instruct Kenyan farmers on how to grow vegetables. The farmers received training and demonstrations in twelve locations.

“Our seeds are higher-priced than those that Kenyan farmers are accustomed to using,” says Heleen Bos, a project manager at seed production company Rijk Zwaan. “That’s why we consider demonstrations and training essential. Telling people your seeds are superior is one thing; you need to actually be able to back up your claim as well.

“We do this by sowing two fields: one with our own seeds and one with the seeds currently used by the farmers. That way, they see that our seeds not only improve yield but also that some plants start sprouting earlier. It means you can take your products to market before your competitors.”

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