The Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) and Agri-Experience have been supported by finding from UKaid to develop a website which seeks to boost Kenyan crop yields by identifying the right crop seeds depending on local growing conditions.
Investing in quality seed is one of the most critical ways smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa can boost their yields, and their incomes. However, all too often these farmers do not have reliable access to quality seeds of varieties suited to their location or climate.
The website, MbeguChoice quickly identifies the best options for farmers in Kenya’s different farm environments, based on breeder recommendations by allowing farmers and local farm input stores to enter basic information including their county, crop, season (short or long rains), and desired crop attributes, such as drought tolerance and disease or pest resistance.
This information helps the website generate a list of suitable seed varieties along with the names of the seed companies producing and distributing them.
Currently, the online database contains over 200 commercialized crop varieties, including 61 varieties of maize, 25 of common bean, 11 of cassava, 13 of Irish potato, and 12 of sorghum. The site will be updated as new varieties come on the market. Of the 200 varieties, at least 90 have come on the market within the last 10 years.
Support from the United Kingdom to support the Kenya Markets Trust is around Ksh 2.74billion (£18 million) through the Market Access Programme
This is a component of the Department For International Development’s (DFID) Economic Development programme which seeks to improve market access in sectors such as livestock, dairy farming, seed sector and fish farming.