Strengthening our relationship with Kenyan & Tanzanian Agriculture Journalists
The shared vision of the Kenyan, Tanzanian and the Netherlands governments is an important indicator of the strong partnership and possibilities in the agricultural sector.
As the Government of Kenya has just outlined its vision for 2017 to 2021, in which agriculture is an important focus area it is named under 2 of the 4 pillars (Food security and Processing). At the same time, in Tanzania there is a sharp increase in interest and investments in the Agriculture sector by Dutch businesses. This is therefore an opportune moment to deepen the relationship with the key agricultural journalists in both countries. A group of 8 Kenyan and 2 Tanzanian journalists were thus invited to visit the agriculture sector in the Netherlands to increase their knowledge of the Dutch approach, mostly related technology & innovations.
Strong trade relation
The Netherlands is a leader in innovative solutions. And Dutch businesses and public institutions have a unique way in which they work together in strengthening an entire value chain. Some of the proposed Dutch solutions and innovations that could aid in achieving the goals set by the Kenyan and Tanzanian government and are interesting for East Africa as a whole were experienced real life by the journalists. Moreover, during the visit it became clear how the Netherlands became the number 1 export partner for Kenya at the beginning of this year, underlining the importance of the trade relationship between Kenya and the Netherlands.
Highlights of the program
East Africa is developing rapidly and its farmers are very interested in fast-tracking the development of their businesses. To see what is possible and share some valuable lessons learned the group went visited various companies and cooperatives where they could ask all they wanted to know. The companies were very open to share their experiences and during each visit there was a dynamic interaction between the group, interviews were taken, radio shots recorded and questions asked in the midst of the daily activities of the companies. The main focus of the questions asked was around the following themes:
- Mitigation and Prevention of risks to the agricultural sector – Focus on Climate Smart solutions and Integrated Pest Management solutions. This is in line with the plans of the Kenyan government to increase irrigation schemes and deal with water in a more sustainable way in the future.
- A focus on possible Dutch ICT solutions that could be implemented in East Africa (also a priority outlined in the Kenyan Vision) – ICT solutions can be tailored to and increase effectiveness of businesses; they are therefore seen as a possible ideal means to strengthen the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in Kenya & Tanzania.
- Seeing the value chain at work. Providing everyone with a full understanding of the existing cooperation, but also the full scope of effort and investment which goes into the programs and trade relation in East Africa.
- Dutch ways to increase productivity and decrease post-harvest losses to feed the growing population is of underlying importance during the visit.
No matter whether we were at a busy flower auction or in the windy port many questions were raised which already resulted in the publications of several articles and news items:
- From Kenyan flower farm to Dutch Flower Auction and then spread all over the globe. The Saturday Nation gives an inside in the complex but efficient system of the rose export. (link) - https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Kenya-exports-over-1bn-stems-to-Amsterdam/1056-4674734-q6mbnxz/index.html
- Saving on costs, increasing of yields and less environmental impact that’s what smart farming can result in! Read more about it in The Citizen (Link) - http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Go-for-smart-agriculture--farmers-urged/1840340-4668932-ywyl09/index.html
- An app that not only tells you when your cow wants to be milked, but also her health status and heat detection is normal practices in the Netherlands. Food Friday, NTV shows the Dutch Dairy Industry (link) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RA0eBUeww4
- Moving Kenya up the dairy value chain, it’s possible to introduce technologies and create access to these technologies and finance. This article by the Daily Nation shines a light on possibilities (link) https://mobile.nation.co.ke/blogs/Use-innovative--climate-smart-agriculture-for-food-security/1949942-4669824-item-1-12m80x6z/index.html
- Kenyan Roses, Roses the market wants! NTV shines a light on how the roses get to the Netherlands and the sales process (link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0MNar7jw4o&feature=youtu.be
- KTN report on the logistical challenge of trading 40mil flowers per day at the auction of which an increasing part is coming from Kenya (link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R15OgM79lWw&feature=youtu.be
- [Kiswahili] K24 shows the differences between Kenyan and Dutch dairy farms. How useful would technology and mechanized farming be for your farm? (link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmZYW0lG5xM&feature=youtu.be
- A refreshing comparison of local and Dutch Dairy Farmers and insights into increasing food security as outlined in the Big4 by k24 (link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubr3hSkhiFQ&feature=youtu.be
- [Kalenjin] Fall Army Worm a threat for many crops all over Kenya! Kass International and Koppert show us that there is a solution if action starts now (link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1czMoSkp3Qk&feature=youtu.be
- [Kalenjin] big, popular and valuable THE KENYAN ROSE! Kass International explains the unique process of transporting storage and repacking of Kenya’s flowers in the Netherlands. In short smart solutions at work (link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDfufXFenGc&feature=youtu.be
- [Kalenjin] investing in technologies to speed up processes and investing in partnerships this is how the Port of Rotterdam handles the enormous amount of containers that sail in every day. Kass International shows us this heavily industrialized part of the Netherlands (link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dW-wh9DGNU&feature=youtu.be
How can Kenyan ports expand to attract global business, Daily Nation gives an inside in lessons that can be drawn from the Port of Rotterdam https://www.nation.co.ke/oped/opinion/Improving-port-infrastructure-critical-to-development-process/440808-4703934-vooxsw/index.html
What is next
Several programs of the Netherlands in the agriculture sector run region-wide, so that lessons learned can be shared from one country to the next and new markets can be opened. This coincides with the ambition of the East Africa Community (EAC) to increase economic ties between African Countries and amplify trade. To share experiences, results and lessons learned with the public is a very important aspect. It enables us to connect and interact with the various stakeholders more easily. We therefore greatly value the relationship we have with the media and would like to thank each and every one for their critical contributions and professionalism.