Autumn excursion for Kenyan trainees

Picture: AgrarKontakte International e.V.

The last excursion this year for the Kenyan trainees to different regions of Southern Germany took place from the 7th to the 9th of September 2022. All trainees gathered in Schwäbisch Hall Hessenthal, where they arrived by public transport. The group was welcomed by AKI project managers Anastasiia Fomina and Olga Rybakova, who supported the trainees during the whole time. Mr. Eberhard (Hardy) Mann from Bäuerliche Erzeugergemeinschaft Schwäbisch Hall (BESH) accompanied the group throughout the three-day excursion, during which the participants gained a lot of valuable knowledge about organic agriculture and its value chains.

The excursion began with a fascinating guided tour of Schwäbisch Hall, which served as one of the most important sources and suppliers of salt in Germany from the 5th century BC until 1925.

After a tour of the historic town of Schwäbisch Hall, the group stayed at the imposing Kirchberg Castle, the former residence of the princes in Kirchberg an der Jagst, which has been owned by the non-profit “Haus der Bauern” Foundation since 2015.

On the second day of the excursion, BESH was comprehensively presented to the trainees at the Hohenlohe regional market in Wolpertshausen. Since its foundation in 1988 as a self-help organization for farmers, BESH has established itself as a successful example project for rural regional development. The students from Kenya were particularly interested in learning how farmers have come together to form a producer group that has achieved significant results - from organic food production to BESH's marketing strategy and product marketing.

Another highlight of the trip was the visit to BESH's Sonnenhof organic spice factory. Especially the presentation about BESH's partnership with India and Zanzibar moved the young people. Afterwards, they discussed in detail about comparable opportunities for themselves in their country and what products they could offer to the international market as future farmers. The group also visited the Swabian-Hall pigs, where they were able to see the rare Swabian-Hall breed pigs for the first time. At the end of the tour, the trainees visited Geifertshofen, where there was a presentation and a tour of the village cheese dairy, as well as a cheese tasting.

On the third day of the tour, Hardy Mann organized a guided tour of Kirchberg Castle for the participants of the excursion, where the trainees had the opportunity to learn about the history and interior of the Renaissance castle. At the end of the excursion, there was a discussion round in which the students shared their impressions of the traineeship and discussed the contents of the second excursion with the AKI staff.

Comments of the trainees on the excursion to the Hohenlohe region:

Ceril Shikhule:"…The partnership Zanzibar in organic farming for the production of spices using pure organic farming captured my interest. Farmers are trained on how to produce the products thereafter exporting the products to other countries earning them a living. It was my thought that in future Kenya can also be given a chance and join the farmers in BESH's network..."

Judith Jeptoo: "…I thank AKI, GIZ and our leaders Teklezghi Teklebrhan, Anastasiia Fomina and Olga Rybakova for a wonderful trip to Schwäbisch Hall city, we saw gorgeous historical sights, it was one of the significant learning experiences in life, learning new technologies of farming. We had a great time with our colleagues. I am grateful for this time and will always look back on these memories with such happiness."

Hosea Kiplimo Sirorei:"I really want to thank for the guidance and support Anastasiia Fomina gave us on our 3-day excursion, it has been a nice experience, and we have learnt a lot.... We would like to thank Anastasiia, partners Olga and Tek and AKI in general…"