Kiringai Kamau

Podcast Interview

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BFP: What do you do?

KK: I am Value Chain Analyst and Knowledge Specialist at VACID Africa (Value Addition and Cottage Industry Development). I work with communities in Africa to create Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and ICTs for Agriculture (ICT4Ag), driven agricultural commodity value chain based agribusinesses, using a value chain model we have evolved over the years that we refer to as the Resource, Aquaculture, Value Addition and Agribusiness Knowledge Centers

BFP: What is the best part about your job?

KK: Sitting with communities and listening to them identify the constraints to their wealth creation potential

BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?

KK: Making agricultural value chain actors agree that the biggest challenge in their agribusiness development is lack of a collective business model of produce aggregation for linkage to the market and linking the same to organized and willing consumers.

BFP: How have you overcome these challenges?/ What advice, would you give to others?

KK: We use the value chain mapping models and through these seek partnerships with consumer outlets to provide the market, partner with development organizations and government to support our effort to bring smallholder producers together. We also support the creation of trust in farmer-owned agribusinesses by introducing ICT-based weighing scales to reduce cheating from buyers or clerks of their farmer organizations and from here create linkage to the market for either value added produce or aggregated raw produce.

BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?

KK: VACID Africa is an NGO, founded and owned by ourselves. If someone wants to do what we do, they just take our constitution, adapt it to their environment and legal requirements, get our mentorship and make stakeholders link up. We are a network not a business entity, our focus is empowerment, so if someone takes on what we do we feel they are on a route to empowerment, which fills us with excitement.

BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?

KK: Our model is to use agribusiness to create wealth for our stakeholders, normally impoverished smallholders. Our goal and that of BFP is the same, to create wealth or fight poverty are only the two sides of the same coin.

We therefore will gain from the experiences of others, senior business people, small business owners, and policy and institutional partners who believe what we do. In the process we shall create goal oriented collaborations that influence our thinking as we also influence others to embrace our thinking and in the end benefit all those what we work with.

Coming from a continent where transparency in business and community engagement is a challenge, we expect to infuse the use of ICT4D and ICT4Ag to straighten transactional engagement at all levels.

Editor’s Note:

Thank you to Kiringai Kamau for taking the time to do this interview.

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