Advice from an experienced assessor: Lazarus Ichaba

What is your background and expertise?
I am a tertiary graduate with Diploma in food production and science. This led me to specialize in coffee production and analysis. The experience was well natured as I worked in coffee industry where I practiced value addition and marketing. This helped me to interact more with farmers, societies as well as marketers. Since I joined SCOPEinsight in May 2013, I have been able to interact more with farmers and other stakeholders in the sector, thus building good understanding of the agricultural value chain approach and how it can empower farmers, improve productivity, bring value and improve incomes for poverty eradication.

How did you hear about SCOPEinsight?
When SCOPEinsight was rolling out the assessments in Kenya, coffee was one of the major crops they were doing. At this time, I had already left the Nairobi Coffee Exchange where I was working and was in the process of starting coffee value addition. This meant I was flexible and available. Some of the marketers that were then working with these producer organizations and in partnership with Scopeinsight introduced me to SCOPEinsight.

How did you experience the assessor training?
The SCOPEinsight assessor training was a whole new experience that opened another chapter of my life and took my understanding of farmer organization and structures relevant to the growth of not only the organizations but also private farmers, to a higher level.

Could you tell us a little bit about conducting an assessment for a farmer organization? Do you have any advice for other assessors or organizations?
For one to do an assessment, you must have a good understanding of the tools both SCOPE Basic and the SCOPE Pro. You must also be a person of high integrity to make sure that you do not become compromised in your report writing. While doing the actual assessment, it is important to first get to understand the nature of the producer organization so that you are able to frame the questions that are relevant to them. You must also be very technical in the way you approach the questions since different people react differently and especially on matters touching on financials and getting the documentation. Basically the actual assessment entails the pre-assessment which is getting the general overview of the organization and the assessment itself which dissecting the whole organization to try and understand them more deeper through the dimensions provided for assessment.

How do you think a SCOPEinsight assessment can make a difference for a farmer organization?
The SCOPEinsight assessment is a very instrumental tool for it will help the farmer or organization understand fully how to be more attractive to either financial institutions, capacity builders and also the market. It also helps organizations or individual farmers to have structures in place that will see the production – or whatever they are engaged in – work efficiently.