A Common But Unexpected Issue
This blog is part of a series profiling input delivery at One Acre Fund. Be sure to read the first blog in the series.
When it comes to making operational changes, farmer feedback is a fundamental part of One Acre Fund’s decision-making process. In 2012, we created the customer engagement team and hotline, so clients could contact headquarters staff directly to provide feedback on the program and voice any concerns.
In 2013, the team reported that large numbers of clients from Nyanza province, Kenya were calling the hotline, and that their concerns were very similar.
Farmers explained that weather patterns in the region had become more erratic. They suggested that One Acre Fund’s pre-established seed and fertilizer delivery dates were no longer ideal, as they were too close to the arrival of the rains (when farmers needed to be planting).
The Nyanza province was also seeing some cases of Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND). Farmers reported less disease in affected fields if they planted earlier rather than later in the year. Our monitoring and evaluation team was dispatched to confirm this, studying cases of both One Acre Fund and non-One Acre Fund farmers’ fields in 2013.
The impact study conducted by the M&E team, along with reports from field officers, corroborated the feedback Nyanza farmers had provided the previous year. Taken together, One Acre Fund realized that an operational adjustment was in order.
Making a Change
Instead of delivering seed and fertilizer to Nyanza farmers in early February, when we also deliver to farmers in the Western province, we decided to deliver seed and fertilizer to Nyanza one month in advance.
This year, on January 19th, 2015, we began our deliveries to the Nyanza province. With seed and fertilizer stacked atop heads, bicycles and wheelbarrows, farmers in Nyanza let us know how happy they were with the new delivery date. “Over the years, the seasons have changed," Millicent Aoko Kaunda, who has farmed with One Acre Fund for two years, said. "Sometimes we can have early rains, and at times delayed rains—either way we get to benefit because we now already have the seeds with us!”
Below are some photos depicting input delivery in Nyanza.