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Mary Njeri Maina

MSc(Agr) in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, UCD

Mary works as a fertiliser market analyst at the International Fertiliser Development Centre in Kenya. She received a Fellowship award in 2018-19 to study on the MSc(Agr) in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development at University College Dublin.

I have gained valuable insight into Ireland’s agriculture and ways to promote sustainability along the agricultural value chain. 

I work as a fertiliser market analyst at International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC). My role involves the collection of fertiliser statistics for East Africa, developing fertiliser market assessment reports, organising farmer trainings and Fertiliser Technical Work Group (FTWG) workshops. Irish Aid has been working together with IFDC since 2016 in strengthening the potato value chain in Kenya through boosting quality and profitability for smallholder potato farmers while focusing on technology and training.

I am currently studying an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development at UCD. The course is very much related to my work on improving crop production through balanced crop nutrition and is providing me with an opportunity to gain knowledge on ways of increasing agriculture production without depleting the natural resources for future generations. With the knowledge gained from my course I will be able to work more closely with smallholder farmers, assisting them to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and empower women in agriculture.

So far, I have learned about how various actors in the agriculture and food system interact and impact on availability of good quality food. This new knowledge will allow me to assist my organisation in forging more sustainable partnerships in the agricultural food system. Studying a masters will also allow me to have access to a better job level and new opportunities that will allow me to financially support my family.

Since coming to Ireland, I have gained valuable insight into Ireland’s agriculture and ways to promote sustainability along the agricultural value chain. I have also deepened my knowledge and understanding of the Irish culture, exploring some of the amazing scenery, making life-long friendships, and enjoying more hearty laughs.

My goals for the future are to positively impact the lives of rural women and play a role in helping them to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. I also hope use the knowledge and skills l have acquired to serve that which is greater than myself.