Economic Empowerment

Interchristian Fellowships' Evangelical Mission (IcFEM)

 

Economic Empowerment - Introduction

 

The village communities supported by IcFEM are situated within counties that  suffer heavily from poverty. For our rural community agriculture is the most important factor to a family’s survival. Crop failure can mean the difference between life and death. If there is no income from the farm then there are no fees to pay for children's education, health care or the other necessities of life.

To support Village Fellowship members to work towards a better future, the mission carries out a range of activities:

Capacity Building:
Training IcFEM members on various forms of savings and credit; equipping IcFEM members with skills in writing proposals, and in planning and budgeting; facilitating financial training and advice given to IcFEM members; sensitising on the importance of entrepreneurship. Agriculture training to improve farm outputs.

Savings Groups:
Encouraging IcFEM village fellowships in setting up and running sustainable table banking and merry-go-round groups to provide IcFEM members with experience of saving money.

Agency Banking:
Provision of IcFEM agency banking outlets at strategic locations to increase the level of financial inclusion and the use of financial services in IcFEM communities.

Access to Credit:
Supporting IcFEM groups and individuals to access appropriate forms of credit.

Agricultural Development and Marketing:
Mobilising farm inputs; vaccinations and Veterinary support, developing community-based agrovets. Formation and support of groups and  cooperatives; enhancing farmers’ access to credit; promoting full value chain activities; identifying markets and networking opportunities.

Some further information is provided about specific agricultural initiatives the mission has carried out:

 

  • Livestock/Animal Production: ↓

     

    Food insecurity contributes to the deepening poverty in an area that has low crop and animal production. The low production of animals is largely as a result of poor quality of livestock i.e. the lack of the right genotype, ignorance leading to poor farming practices, poor marketing facilities for animal production and some extended traditions and beliefs. These are some of the key areas the project will address in order to increase animal production.

    Traditionally, the animals kept are cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, rabbits and pigs. Most households keep cattle and poultry and others keep goats and sheep. Commonly the animals are kept for special occasions, sacrifices and as a moving bank however, this project will lay emphasis on animal production for nutritional purposes and income. Since the demand for animal products is on the increase, there is need to source the best animals to provide the required commodities. Dairy cow keeping is becoming less and less affordable for a small-holder farmer due to its high demand in capital, labour and space for growing fodder. The Mission aims at promoting dairy cows, poultry, bee keeping, pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats, etc but initially has started by focusing on dairy goats.

  • Dairy Goats ↓

     

    The Dairy Goat project has three phases:

    • Give a dairy goat project.
    • Keeping bucks available for cross breeding (mating) with farmers' goats.
    • Keeping goats for breeding at a Mission centre.

    Efforts are concentrated on a dairy goat project, for encouraging, teaching and involving farmers to own dairy goat keeping as a valuable alternative to dairy cow keeping.

    Dairy Goats & Food Security

    Milk is very important protein/complete supply of food nutrients but the problem that besets the farmers is that there is too little available. Farmers have depended on cow's milk mainly and little is known about goat's milk. The cow feeding space is now reducing such that there is no free grazing space, nor enough farms to grow fodder for cows and this particularly affects poor farmers and hence the there is no universal milk availability.
  • Marketing and Value Addition ↓

     

    In the regions covered by the IcFEM Local Transformation Units agriculture is the major economic activity but the marketing of these products is a great challenge. This is attributed to lack of marketing infrastructure within these regions. As the marketing structure is not in place farmers do not have a substantial market demand in terms of quantity, quality for the supply of their products and as such do not know what to produce, when to produce it and how to produce it i.e. poor marketing information. Besides this there are poor marketing channels and physical structures which have contributed to poor pricing of products and hence producers greatly demoralised as they reap negative returns.

     

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