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Newsletter #10
Young horses in a juicy meadow!

Dear Friends,

Over the last weeks, we have been attending many, really many, webinars, digital conferences, symposia and brainstorms about digital services for agriculture in Africa. There seem to be a handful of new buzzwords and the one we like best is ‘digital confusion’. Currently, there are about 400 apps for agriculture; they are all unique and they all serve a purpose. But how can a farmer know what he wants?

Imagine this farmer in her 5-acre plot with 4 cows, some potatoes and a bunch of chicken.

She is sitting down under a tree with her smartphone and thinks: ‘Yes, I need to download an app to support me on my farm…’ and there you go; what is wise, what does she need and then she finds some links, these don’t download easily, she will need to register and she sees that her internet bundles are reducing.

After some minutes she will give up, not to install anything and go back to her cows to continue practicing, as her father and grandfather did.

Now, this farmer is a ‘lost case’ for the digitalization of agriculture.
 
And don’t forget; only a small minority of the farmers are directly reached; a very high percentage doesn’t have any digital connection and how can we avoid that these future users of the very good and helpful tools will be left out because of this digital confusion.

At Yielder we are not only developing digital solutions but we are also thinking about this almost philosophical side of the work; if food safety, food security, care for the planet, care for the farmers is so high on our moral agenda, then how do we  deal with this challenge?

Yielder is a networking organization and we depend on partnerships. Over the last months we have been deepening the existing partnerships; with FiBL and Biovision we go to the next phase of our cooperation, with Send A Cow Kenya (SACK) we are now designing a new plan for other regions in Kenya. Farm Africa likes to scale the cooperation with Yielder. We are also reaching out to more and more new partners; with CIAT we have won a tender and will be reaching out to 30.000 farmers to train them on the use of innovative grasses for dairy (less methane output and better milk) with TNO we are developing a new proposal for mid-size dairy farmers and we are finally designing a plan with AGRA.

We are not only expanding our network but also our regional spread: with FESY we have signed an agreement to work together in Rwanda; under the name FESY-Yielder we will roll out there and offer our partners the possibility to reach the farmers in Rwanda and we will benefit from the outreach and knowledge of FESY there.

One of the members of our Advisory Board, Bert Melief has been working under the PUM umbrella. He worked with us first, and at a later stage with FESY in Rwanda and he connected us to James and Mutangana of Fesy.

We know that PUM is a great organization; and that they go further than just their ‘advisory role’; they are matchmakers too. In any case, Bert goes that extra mile, that is for sure.

Recently, we are developing new kinds of activities for our Yielder Ambassadors. The main thing is that we are finishing our ToT… in NGO lingo that stands for ‘Training of Trainers’. We have recruited young people who have come from Agriculture Universities or colleges in the last 3 years and they are wild as young horses in a juicy meadow. They want to go out and reach out to the farmers in their communities. They however need more guidance than what we were offering them till now.

The ToT consists of a strong basic training whereby there is a focus on life skills such as conflict management, entrepreneurship, negotiation skills and recordkeeping and of course, educational skills as well. In our case, it is quite important that they can operate the digital tools; that they know how to get all out of the Yielder app and of course out of the Learning Stone feature. Only if they have done this ToT training successfully will we train them further on the topics that our partners want them to carry out to the farmers.

Then they come armed with a tablet, reach out to the farmers in the field and conduct the training, share the videos in the training, enjoy the audio plays, use the cartoons and especially make good use of the quizzes as a discussion piece for the groups of trainees.

Talking about these trainings: we have recently again finished a series of trainings and we just got the survey reports back; we are blooming with pride. Based on the interviews done with the trainers (Ambassadors) and the trainees (farmers), Dalberg Research conducted the survey and the results are overwhelming. If you look at the statistics it proves that we are on the right track; the target group that we are addressing is just right, the level of the trainings is high, but due to the Ambassadors it is understandable.

Now the scaling of the trainings…. Let the big numbers come in, we are ready to handle that… piece of cake.


The Yielder team
Nairobi, November 11, 2021
For more information: www.yielder.org

Ps: For the FiBL organic farming training, Yielder produced videos to make the training more attractive. Here you will find link to the clips...... because we are so proud!
https://vimeo.com/512480654
https://vimeo.com/512479183
https://vimeo.com/640632300

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kenya@yielder.org

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