JOHN LOGANJohn Logan, the Country Head for TechnoServe’s operations for Kenya, is what one would call an agri-expert with a passion for agriculture and particularly for cropping and horticulture. Having grown up in a rural area where his parents farmed, he expresses that he has always been interested in plants and livestock, especially those with economic use. He finds the link between food, nutrition, and how well people can fulfill their potential compelling, and food does start with agriculture. This led him to pursue a rewarding career in agriculture, starting with a degree in Agriculture and majoring in horticulture. He now has a rich experience of 20 years working in agricultural extension in public and private sectors, and nearly 15 years of experience in a managerial capacity in production. More recently, he has been a development practitioner for close to 12 years. John loves seeing farmers doing things well, especially implementing innovative practices that improve their systems. In recent years, he has seen significant increases in productivity in the North Rift region with farmers using conservation tillage. However, this continues to be a work in progress and will take longer to make this the most common practice in the region, as it involves investment in equipment and availability of service providers with the right equipment, along with continued growth in demand for the services.
Conservation agriculture (CA) is an approach that is gaining popularity in sub-Saharan Africa’s smallholder farms to tackle issues pertaining to land degradation and soil fertility. Could you tell us a little more about this approach? What is the impact of CA on crop yields and livelihoods?
What would be some of the effective strategies for the public and private sectors to close/reduce the gender gap between men and women in agriculture, and make agriculture a lucrative choice of livelihood for the youth?
Kenya is recognised as the innovation hub of Africa with nearly 30% of the continent’s start-ups operating in the country. What have been some of the most promising innovations in the agri sector in recent times and what challenges do they help overcome?
For producers of export crops, traceability to source is emerging as the key to access new markets and fetch premium prices for their products. Is there any incident that you could share with us where traceability and the regulation of working conditions have improved the income for farmers?
Close to 30 countries across Africa, Middle East, and Asia are facing a severe threat from locust infestation. Although pesticides are now widely used to fight these outbreaks, the adverse effects of these chemicals on the environment and human health do not make them an ideal solution. How do you think emerging technological solutions can help farmers take some preemptive measures to prevent excessive crop damage?
How can smallholder farmers be protected from the adverse effects of market price volatility, particularly those who produce high-value crops such as coffee and cocoa?