These stories come from farmers, community facilitators, government focal points, and partners who have been engaged in project activities in Kenya.
Mutembuku village, Mbooni East subcounty, Makueni County
although Veronica only cultivates 3 acres
WHAT DOES VERONICA GROW ON HER FARM?
Veronica cultivates a variety of crops on her farm. These include;
- green grams
- pigeon peas and
- sweet potato.
Veronica also produces vegetables such as kale, pumpkin and calabash. She also cultivates sunflower which she uses as poultry feed.
BECOMING A MODEL FARMER
Veronica joined the project in 2016 and was trained in soil and water conservation measures such as planting basins and tree planting.
After being trained, she was given the option of choosing what options she wanted to try out on her farm in order to see what works for her.
Veronica is increasing the number of basins shes is digging as she has determinded she has a better chance of increasing harvest yields with planing basins compared to her normal farmer practice.
She compared 60cm x 60cm x 145cm and 90cm x 90cm x 45cm. She found that the larger basins worked for her and now has 1961 planting basins.
Veronica also found that by digging planting basins they retained moisture supporting the growth even when the rains are not sufficient. She is also digging the planting basins between terraces to maximize moisture retention.
Farmers who were apprehensive about the basins when Veronica first started are now coming to learn from her after seeing the status of her farm. She has trained 10 farmers who are already using planting basins on their farm.
ON FARM IMPACTS FROM PROJECT INTERVENTIONS AND LEARNING
During the 2019 harvest season, she harvested 324% more yield from the planting basins than from the area without the basins.
The yield from the maize planted under basins was 600% more than the previous year where no basins where used in planting the maize.
Maize production has also increased due to Veronica integrating soil and water conservation measures, primarily the planting basins on her farm. She used to harvest 50kgs of maize or during a good year 180kgs from the farm. She now harvests at least 1 tonne of maize from the farm.
Veronica has learnt by using a local solution of ash she is able to deter termites from attacking her tree seedlings.
INCREASED FOOD SECURITY
Using planting basins has enabled Veronica to diversify the crops she is cultivating on her farm as well as to produce enough food to last her family until the next harvest season. She now has food throughout the year and does not rely on food aid.
GENERATING FARM SAVINGS AND ENSURING SEASONAL FOOD SECURITY
- While Veronica is not selling any produce from her farm, she is producing enough food to last her and her family until the next harvest season. This saves her from buying additional food.
- Previously, she used to buy at least 6 bags of maize spending at least KSH 24,000 to supplement what she produced. She now reinvests the money she saves in her farm as well as taking care of her household expenses.
- As her fruit trees are still young, Veronica uses the money she has saved from producing enough food to buy fruits from the market.
Leigh Winowiecki (ICRAF) L.A.Winowiecki@cgiar.org
Fergus Sinclair (ICRAF) F.Sinclair@cgiar.org