Vandana Thottoli via web
The SWA program has facilitated the set-up of Irrigation Acceleration Platforms (IAPs) in five of its program Counties, with the view to ensure stakeholder collaboration to identify and scale out smart water solutions that can help reduce water stress in agriculture. However, many issues experienced at the local and county level, needs to be addressed at the national level. The SWA program and its key partners have therefore joined hands with WARREC, the Water Research and Resource Center of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), to work towards setting up and launching some form of irrigation acceleration platform at the national level.
This National platform would aim to improve interaction and collaboration between stakeholders involved in farmer-led irrigation at the national level, with the explicit objective to accelerate the uptake of effective smart water solutions (SWS). The platform is envisaged as a place where the supply and demand side can meet and interact, where innovation can be initiated and supported, and where the private sector, farming communities and actors of the enabling environment can engage, to analyze problems and propose strategies that work. It will be a place that will stimulate knowledge networking and evidence based advocacy in farmer-led irrigation development in Kenya.
To this end, WARREC and SNV organized a workshop “Promoting Farmer-led and Market based Smart Water Solutions for improving smallholder irrigation in Kenya” at Azure Hotel, Nairobi, the 12th April, 2018. The main aim of the workshop was to review the need for a National Irrigation Acceleration Platform and its agenda and reach agreement on main topics and activities that would help accelerate farmer-led irrigation development in Kenya, while generating interest and commitment from all stakeholders.
Towards this, the workshop program was designed to gather inputs and information from the stakeholders and build consensus – a bottom-up approach to foster a “pull” effect in stakeholder uptake of platform activities based on their personal interests. This was realized by creating ample space for stakeholder specific working groups to formulate their views.
The workshop brought together close to 50 key national level stakeholders involved in smallholder irrigation development, analyzed key developments in the space, and deliberated on the strategies to upscale Smart Water Solutions in Kenya. During the conclusion of the workshop, it was noted that the participants and their working groups very much confirmed the need to strengthen stakeholder collaboration on farmer-led irrigation development in Kenya. They feel encouraged to take this initiative forward in close collaboration with participating organizations.
After further processing of the workshop results and matching recommendations with available resources, the organizers (Prof. Bancy Mati from WARREC and Ms. Vandana Thottoli from SNV) will communicate again with all participants for their further interest and possible contribution to shaping the NIAP and its activities.