Leadership development is key to sustained improvements in agricultural production in developing countries particularly in the rural areas. However the rural poor cannot, in isolation, develop complete solutions to deal with production, market access and technology challenges they face.
Led by Steve Fennimore of UC Davis, this international project team proposes a way in which urban professionals who are concerned about rural development and food production can use their networks and expertise to develop technical and management capacity among rural farmers, in order to generate entrepreneurial solutions to crippling food shortages. The project team targets educated urban dwellers with close rural ties and seeks to create intellectual curiosity about this constant struggle with food insecurity. Whereas there is mutual respect is required by local customs, contact between these groups has previously been superficial, i.e., limited to family occasions like weddings and funerals.
To encourage stakeholder ownership, it is important that a shift to horticultural crop production – which is one method of increasing incomes and improving nutrition in arid and semi arid areas – be proposed by the farmers on the ground rather than the project team. The team identifies other constraints and deals with all issues identified in a systematic manner to ensure that local farmers are satisfied their views are valuable. Farmers in rural Kenya will then take ownership of any proposals that result from these partnerships.