Traditionally, agricultural extension personnel had the task of diffusing scientific knowledge to farm families in the farms and homes. This limited the farmers reached and geographical area of coverage. Despite its many benefits, it has limitations which require other approaches in service delivery.

Food Agriculture Organization recommends a ratio of 1:400 (Extension officers to farmers). This is much below the reality in Agricultural sector. Integration of additional farmers outreach methodologies to train and enhance accessibility to agricultural information would benefit more farm households.

As an organization we continue to reach farmer groups’ directly where extension officers meet them at grassroots level for training and in setting demonstrations.We also receive farmers at our demonstration farm as well as offer trainings at our training hall. However, we have amplified our work by use of electronic media, forums, agricultural shows and exhibitions to diffuse the idea of saving local seeds for agro-biodiversity conservation. Through the interactions we have been able to expand our work and reach more small scale farmers.

We have been hosted by Mulembe FM and Radio Amani on various farmers’ programmes where farmers have been trained on seed saving and ecological agriculture. Our presence in the media has helped farmers to inquire through

At Radio Amani

phone calls and follow up on seed saving concept. This has also been the outcome of Inooro TV coverage in ‘Mugambo wa Murimi’ show. We also contributed to a documentary through Hivos in collaboration with Open Society Foundation where we highlighted the plight of farmers managed seed systems. This will be useful in reaching and enlightening more farmers across the globe who shares the same challenges. Also we contributed to a podcast available online on the ‘Role of Agro-chemicals in Kenya’. Listen This was developed by Jason Farr a graduate student at American University after his internship at our organization. It unveils the untold story and serves as a guide for farmers to enhance their conservation efforts.

Through agricultural shows and exhibitions we have been able to showcase farm saved seeds to farmers.Our extension officers have trained them on the procedures of mass seed selection, harvesting, extraction, sorting,treatment and storage of seeds. This has also been an opportunity to reach senior government officials for instance during Chandera agricultural field day early December, we hosted Agriculture Cabinet secretary Willy Bett and CEC Agriculture Dr. Immaculate  at our stand. In July this year during Nakuru Agricultural show, we hosted by then Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua, CEC agriculture Dr.Stanley and Director of Agriculture.

Agriculture cabinet secretary Willy Bett at our stand

We recently held annual seed fair with farmers from Kakamega, Nakuru, Nyandarua and Kiambu County. Various organization which includes; Hivos, slow Food Kenya, COSDEP and RODI attended.

Farmer-farmer training at a seed fair

The event came two months after an international seed fair at Nyando in partnership with Bioversity international and two weeks after World Organic Congress  at India where a farmer from our network and extension officer were sponsored by Hivos and KBIOC to participate.All these gave participants opportunity to learn more on our seed saving concept as well as giving opportunity for farmer-farmer training and mentorship.

A farmer(Francis) at India
A farmer(Francis) at India

Another approach is partnership with like-minded organizations locally and internationally.Through PELUM,

Farmers hosting visitors at their seed bank

KOAN, ABN and KeFAAS we have been able interact with other agricultural extension Officers across the country.This has been an opportunity for experiential sharing on best practices in various organizations .Collaboration with international organizations;European Centre for Development Policy Management  and 4 Italian Universities consortium,Bioversity International and Irish Seed Savers provides more information to farmers through inclusive research at farm level,sharing their work in documentaries and other resources.Through these Seed Savers Network links extension services to farmers  from outside world to boost our agro-biodiversity work.






Technology is transforming farmers’ lives through improving efficiency and speed of disseminating information to a large group at the same time. At this era of technological advancement, Farmers need to shift from their traditional

A young farmer following twitter training

way of extension where extension officers were expected to visit and train them in their farms. This limited the number reached due various human and financial resources constraints.

This made our organization to adopt e-extension twitter tool to reach and train our small-scale farmers easily. The model is cost saving and easily accessible by our members who own mobile phones. Just by a tweet hundreds of

of farmers receive the information.

Our extension department has summarized various areas of training in seed production and ecological agriculture with a transmission plan to ensure farmers obtain the information regularly. When this information is tweeted beneficiaries receive it as a short text message. This information tool is suitable and most convenient as our farmers receive a tweet message without any limitation of the type of phone or internet connectivity.


Benefits of Seed Saving Unfold

Benefits of Seed Saving Unfold

Farmers selling and exchanging seeds in a seed fair
Farmers selling and exchanging seeds in a seed fair

Seed Savers Network continues to promote agro-biodiversity through community seed systems and seed access for improved seed security among smallholder farmers. Over 6,500 farmers have benefited through interaction with Seed Savers Network in various seed projects and programs this year. This brings the total number of individual farmers served since Seed Savers’ founding to nearly 50,000.

To increase our impact this year we have organized 25 seed fairs throughout the region where farmers are able to exhibit their seeds to members of their own farmer group as well to non-group members. These events bring together more than 200 farmers to learn about the importance of saving, selling, sharing, and exchanging their locally produced seeds with each other. For example, Jane Wanjiru from Eka Tano Women’s Group was able to exchange her bean variety, mwite mania, with Mary Njeri Mwaura from Diatomite Budget Women’s Group, who had the rare mukura noke variety of beans, during a seed fair organized at the Diatomite Farming Center. Others successes include the sale of 100 bunches of sweet potato vines at KSh 100 per bunch by the Diatomite Budget Women’s Group making KSh 10,000 for a non-group member.

At a recent seed fair in Kigogo Mr. Francis Ngiri, a group member of Makongo Farmers Network, sold chia seeds he produced through self-seed saving for KSh 1,700. In addition to Mr. Ngiri’s success, Mary Karori sold cassava cuttings making KSh 400 and Jenifer Ngendo sold 2kgs of broad beans to John Mwaura, a non-group member, for KSh 400.

According to one seed fair attendee, Elizabeth Wangeci, “This is a great approach to farming and we did not know that we can learn that much from each other. As for me I had just one type of beans in huge quantities but I have exchanged to another fast growing variety and I am really grateful.”

This year farmers sold KSh 70,000 worth of seeds to members and non-group members who attended Seed Savers sponsored seed fairs.