KENYA – Lachlan Kenya Ltd, a local agriculture marketing and distribution company, has developed a seed treatment technology that balances the use of synthetic chemicals with biocontrol products to provide healthy planting seeds with almost no risk of pest attack.
The cutting-edge strategy known as Viazi power is based on fusion farming concepts and aims to enhance food output while reducing the environmental effect.
Viazi Power creates an eco-friendly seed treatment that boosts yields and crop quality at a manageable cost while maintaining soil quality by combining “bio-control” products, synthetic chemicals, and bagged fertilizer products.
Due to the little amount of chemicals used, seed treatment can reduce the need for pesticides.
Lachlan was able to test this idea in Kenya’s Bomet and Meru counties thanks to a Feed the Future funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Over 200 potato farmers have used Viazi Power so far, and the preliminary outcomes are promising.
“In many cases, we’ve been able to double yields. The company plans to distribute the product to more than 11,000 potato growers over the next two years,” said Richard Stone-Wigg, Lachlan’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer.
Viazi, which means “potato” in Kiswahili, is a staple food for millions and a crop that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
“Adverse weather, especially drought, has contributed to farmers losing their drive. The unpredictable climate often renders their farming efforts worthless,” said Martin Mwobobia, Lachlan’s Sales Manager.
Nonetheless, potatoes have a better chance of surviving the heat, drought, and other challenges if they are given effective seed treatment.
According to Lachlan, Kenyan farmers are thrilled about the Vizai Power technology, especially those who only tend small plots of land.
“Even if you farm only this small plot, it is enough. This supplies a whole shop, and you will never lack customers,” said Martha Johna, a smallholder farmer in Meru County.
Lachlan is educating farmers on how to use Viazi Power to maximize yields and provide thorough field training that covers fundamentals like planting and fertilizing.
The business will also evaluate the impact, adoption rates, distribution and marketing plans, benefits for farmers and homes, and how the strategy will work at scale in order to test the approach’s technical and market viability.
Lachlan is a fantastic illustration of how the Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine, which functions like a venture capital fund, can provide technical help that supplements financial investments, according to Karen Freeman, Director of USAID Kenya Mission.
The Innovation Engine supports the next wave of ideas for smallholder farmers and others involved in the agricultural value chain.
“By partnering with entrepreneurs who have promising new concepts, products, and services, we can multiply the results we are able to deliver,” says Freeman.
Lachlan is one of 13 innovators chosen by the Innovation Engine to receive specialized training and assistance in order to test, improve, and scale up solutions to hunger and poverty.
The company received a direct grant under USAID’s fixed obligation mechanism as part of the agency’s initiative to support local development initiatives, reports Farmbiz Africa.