CGIAR Gender News

Seed revolving fund: Women uplifting their community in Kenya

Jane Cherotich in her seed farm Photo: Raymond Jumah (FIPs)/CIP

In the last planting season of September 2019, the Gender specialist at the Alliance of Bioversity and International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (ABC) approached an extension officer at Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)  to identify a women group with whom to collaborate with to promote high iron and zinc beans in Nakuru, Kenya. 

This was after the gender expert realized that more men, compared to women participated in field days where different and improved bean varieties of high iron and zinc beans were promoted. After a discussion with the Ushirikiano women's group, thirty-six women showed interest to grow Nyota – a high iron and zinc bean variety. Nyota is among four new varieties (Angaza, Faida, Nyota, and Metameta) recently released by KALRO through support from Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA). These women could only afford 2kg of certified bean seed each; so they purchased 72kg of the Nyota seed from KALRO.

To cushion the farmers from any further risks, and promote the planting of these new varieties, PABRA and KALRO boosted them with an additional 340 kg of certified seeds to accommodate the acres reserved for beans in that season. The goal was to test the seed-production-own-consumption pathway, which would result in women's empowerment and increase nutritional outcomes around their community.