Promoting Entrepreneurial Development and Sustainable Agribusinesses in Rural Western Kenya

University of Hartford, 2011 - $37,061

In Kenya, maize crops, the main food staple, are failing due to disease, climate change, and droughts. Amaranth, a drought- and disease-resistant grain with high nutrient and immunity properties, was introduced to Kenya in 2005 and has shown higher marginal returns compared to other commodities, including maize. This initiative builds on a partnership between US universities and Kenyan institutions to develop market-driven, affordable technology innovations that take advantage of amaranth grain as a cash crop in Western Kenya. The team has already performed fieldwork there, working with farming cooperatives to produce and market amaranth. With this grant, the team is working with farming groups to increase the quantity and quality of the grain, develop the infrastructure and local capacity for large-scale manufacturing of a mechanical seed planter and human-powered thresher, and implement a business strategy with farming cooperatives.