The Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Platform of the United Nations has become the latest institution to support the National Farmers Awards, hailing it as pivotal in rural transformation and bolstering Kenya’s pursuit for food and nutrition security.
The farmers’ awards scheme is a partnership between agro input company Elgon Kenya and the Ministry of Agriculture and has for seven years sought to celebrate ordinary food producers who have taken up the role of feeding the nation amid mounting challenges including pests and diseases and climate change.
The awards attracts applicants from all counties and is divided into nine categories including persons with disabilities, women, youth and large scale farms.
The national fete while romanticizing agriculture as a rewarding endeavour, has spurred talk and action on making life easier for farmers to feed a growing population that is already putting a strain on food availability.
The awards have also been key in shifting discussion from boardrooms to a central meeting point between ordinary farmers and other key stakeholders in the sector including government and private sector players.
Past winners christened soil celebrities have gone on to create agriculture empires while transforming their farms into training fields and inspiring peer to peer farmer training model that has sparked a farming revolution across the country.
“The SDG Platform fully supports the National Farmers Awards. Farmers are critical agents of rural transformation and change for the sector to help the country realize its ambition of 100 percent food and nutrition security for all Kenyans,” read a joint message from the SDG Partnership Platform signed by Arif Neky, the Senior Advisor UN Strategic Partnerships and Coordinator SDG Platform, Tobias Takavarasha, the FAO Kenya Resident Representative and Esther Kasalu-Coffin IFAD Director for Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean Hub.
The Platform works to improve the productivity and incomes of small scale farmers by promoting equal access to land, technology and markets, sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices in collaboration with key stakeholders in the sector.
“We welcome the support of the partners in government, private sector and development partners in this noble initiative. Indeed we are honoured to join hands with the SDG Platform to drive this agenda in our pursuit of leaving no one behind and in ensuring that our farmers remain motivated in the very crucial role they play of feeding our population and growing our economy. We look forward to transforming to building sustainable partnerships that will inspire innovative ways of celebrating our farmers and growing our agriculture sector,” said Bimal Kantaria the patron of the National Farmers Award.