The visit to Kapchorwa was simply inspirational. Situated at an altitude of about 2000 meters and endowed with the rich volcanic soil of Mount Elgon together with ample water supply, Kapchorwa has relatively high potential for agricultural production. It was a pleasure listening to the management of Kapchorwa Commercial Farmers Association about its objectives which derive from the challenges faced by farmers and include the mobilisation and sensitisation of other farmers; training in best agricultural practices; enterprise development by introducing new and high value crops; linking farmers to financial services; post harvest handling; and group marketing. Against these objectives, the KACOFA achievements include significant increase in crop productivity through the introduction of good agriculture practices; introduction and uptake of high value crops such as barley; enhanced ability to secure credit; setting up of centres for collection and bulking.
The management of KACOFA has shown a great enthusiasm to the P4P interventions. KACOFA identified several remaining challenges and bottlenecks, including post-harvest handling. Given the low temperature and high moisture of this high altitude area together with the inadequacy of traditional storage facilities, harvested crops take a long time to dry resulting in high losses and a sub-standard product. The P4P interventions can go a long way in alleviating these difficulties. Some new challenges may also arise, including the need for a careful balance between the fragility of the eco-system vis-à-vis the introduction of new and high value crops as well as the use of fertilisers, tractors, pesticides.