This year’s National Farmers’ Awards gala dinner was held in Nairobi. The event, formerly known as Presidential Farmers competition Scheme, was first launched in 2013 as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Ministry of Agriculture and Elgon Kenya Limited. It was presided over by the Principal Secretary, State Department of Crop Development, Phillip Kello Harsama, on behalf of the Chief Guest, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi. Mr. Harsama was assisted by his colleague in the state department of Livestock PS Harry Kimtai and Elgon’s Managing Director Dr. Bimal Kantaria. Individual farmers as well as companies were among the awardees of the day.
The event, which is a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), from the Elgon Kenya Group, is held annually with this year as a relaunch three years after covid-19 pandemic. Its main aim is to recognize the agricultural champions including the youth, women and the physically challenged people in the agriculture sector as well as flower farms with outstanding performance.
According to Dr. Bimal, the sponsors of the event were not part of the judging committee and thus assured the farmers and growers of a credible and thorough exercise purely based on merit where the government through a committee hand-picked winners after a keen scrutiny. Others who partnered with Elgon Kenya to make the event a success were; Bayer E.A, Excel Crop, FMC, Arista Life Sciences, UPL and BASF.
In a speech read by PS Harsama on behalf of the CS Agriculture, he pointed out the Public Private Partnership model as a proof that the private sector could actually apportion resources and join forces with the state towards a common goal.
“Promotion of agribusiness is a top priority for the government and I am glad this partnership is anchored on the major goal which is to promote agribusiness and encourage participation and adoption of commercial farming as a choice career,” read the speech. He went on with the speech as he extolled the event organizers on addition of extra categories in the event from the inceptive three, which laid emphasis on soil conservation and farm management to the agro-dealers and SMEs. “For instance, the inclusion of the agrodealer category recognizes the important role they play in the supply of agricultural inputs and in addition the complementary role of advising farmers on good agricultural practices,”read PS Harsama.
Harsama also lauded Dr. Bimal Kantaria for his notable presence and efforts specifically in the agriculture sector. Dr. Bimal on the other hand, announced that Elgon Kenya had gotten into a partnership with the University of Nairobi to put up an agricultural innovation and technology hub at Kabete in memory of his late father. Additionally, he said that Elgon Kenya had also introduced an internship programme project where the company was going hire twenty interns from the University of Nairobi for a period of six months at a monthly stipend of twenty-five thousand shillings per intern.
The categories for the farmers awards were as follows; The first category was Floriculture farms with more than thirty hectares of land, the second was flower farms with less than thirty hectares of land, then the special category, Women in Agriculture, Youth in Agriculture and the final one was the physically challenged person in Agriculture category. The winners received Trophies, Certificates and Vouchers.
In the category of floriculture farms with more than thirty hectares of land, the trophy was scooped by Oserian, followed by Sian Roses, Bliss flora then Everflora Limited. Flower farms with less than thirty hectares of land featured; Exomnic Horticulture, Equinox Horticulture, Ol-Njorowa Ltd, Larmona Ltd and Crazan Flowers-Shantara- St Farm respectively scooped the prizes.
The Special Category recommendation breeders/ Propagators was awarded to Fides Kenya Limited as Nirp-East Africa came in second.