October 03, 2023

Tailored solutions for cultivating prosperous communities

Today in Kenya, maize yields lag behind demand, contributing to food insecurity. Yara MiCROP is a solution to closing the yield gap while supporting soil health and prosperity for farm communities.

Beatrice Opiyo - Maize and bean farmer in Kenya
Beatrice Opiyo - Maize and bean farmer in Kenya

“A nature-positive food future means having food, and at the same time protecting the soil. That's where Yara MiCROP fertilizer comes in,” says Beatrice Opiyo, a farmer who grows maize, beans, and banana on four acres and operates a retail shop for farmers in Migori County, Kenya. “I'm now able to know the best products, get more yield, and get good income through my farm. I'm a happy farmer.” 

Growing yields, growing prosperity 

Today in Kenya, maize yields lag behind demand, contributing to food insecurity. The annual maize deficit in Kenya ranges between 10 to 12 million bags. This deficit can be closed by addressing farmer knowledge gaps while increasing the use of multi-nutrient fertilizers. Farmers in Kenya have been using traditional fertilizers that only provide two nutrients, resulting in declining soil fertility.  

Yara designed MiCROP as a balanced nutrient solution that could support soil health and help farmers produce more food per acre, thereby closing the yield gap while driving prosperity for farm communities. “Our goal with MiCROP was to create a future-fit solution to elevate farms in terms of productivity, while being pocket-friendly,” says Carol Mumo, Manager of Social Impact in Yara Africa & Asia.  

Beatrice Opiyo and MiCrop

The result is an accessible, easy-to-use, multi-nutrient (5 to 7 nutrients) product that promotes soil health while improving food security, land use, and farmer livelihoods. Across the region, farmers who use MiCROP with their maize planting are seeing yield increases of at least one ton per acre, or two times the yield of those who use other fertilizers that supply fewer nutrients. 

This increase in productivity translates into improved farmer incomes. 

“I've doubled my yield. The increased yield has enabled me to have an income, to do so many things. I can pay school fees for my children in the best school in Kenya. I've been able to open a shop and also to build a new permanent house. And I bought a tractor.” 

Beatrice Opiyo, Kenyan farmer

Empowering farmer knowledge networks  

To help advance solutions to the issue of food security, Yara relies on networks of farmers like Beatrice to share their successes with MiCROP and train other farmers. “Farmers listen to other farmers,” says Samuel Namale, Yara Territory Manager for Western & Nyanza Region, Kenya. 

Beatrice Opiyo shop - MiCrop

“At my retail store I serve almost 3,000 farmers on a daily basis. I always tell them about MiCROP. Farmers come to my farm to learn, especially during planting season and during harvesting,” says Beatrice. “I have a women’s group and youth group, where I teach them more about Yara MiCROP fertilizer, and also through social media I pass the message to my farmers.”  

Kenya's government is determined to ramp up maize production by addressing farmers’ key challenges, introducing a subsidy to improve access to multi-nutrient fertilizers like MiCROP. This will materially improve farmers’ ability to address local soil conditions and meet crop demand without committing a large investment. “I see the potential of using Yara MiCROP because maize is the staple crop in my country and Yara MiCROP fertilizer is the right fertilizer for maize,” says Beatrice. 

Activating our Ambition 

Addressing the yield gap and promoting farmer prosperity is an important part of activating Yara’s ambition to grow a nature-positive food future. “Africa is a driver of the prosperity pillar, and MiCROP has done an amazing job of addressing food security and speaking to less acidification of the soil” in Kenya, says Tumi Mmope, Yara Marketing Manager Africa & Asia. “We can all agree we’ve exceeded our expectations on prosperity.”  

Still, the team at Yara is continually improving the MiCROP solution to offer the best performance for the unique needs of Kenyan farms. This means keeping in mind regenerative agriculture and climate goals as well, for example, to better help farmers adjust to extremes in temperature, rainfall, and other challenges due to climate change.  

Beatrice Opiyo - Kenyan farmer using Microp

“I believe, because of these climate change issues, using the right products will really help us to take care of the planet,” says Beatrice. “The fact that the Earth has a pulse means to me that I'm helping my community. Especially since I started farming and passing the knowledge to them, it has created employment and food security, and that is my happiness.”