Friday, November 26, 2010 12:26:10 PM
Samuel has been outstanding in his innovative abilities whereby he modified his hand pump to operate using a small engine saving him time and labour at low fuel cost on his horticultural farming where he plants tomatoes, kales, green peppers and tamarillo fruits. He also uses biogas fuel for cooking with cow dung slurry from his dairy cows saving a lot on firewood and charcoal. His farm is well organized and terraced to prevent soil erosion with nitrogenous fodder planted along terraces providing his two dairy cows giving about 30 liters each with rich and plenty of fodder.
David N. Muhoro
For David he has been able to utilize a precious commodity that goes to waste in most farms resulting to great losses in terms of soil erosion and crop destruction.
He has taped rain water from his roof top to his tank and the rest to his farm. More interesting he has tapped erosion water from roads and farms around him and directed it to his farm that is well terraced with bananas planted in holes to create shallow basins to trap and precipitate water. By doing so he takes advantage of eroded manure, fertile silt and humus from farms and land neighboring his farm. This improves his soil fertility as all this water precipitates in his farm. The results are visible when you compare his land with his neighbors. He’s surprisingly very active despite being 0ver 70 years of age.
Mary W. Githiri
Mary’s farm is unique in organization and intensive production despite the fact that it’s only one acre. It is 30ft wide stretching all the way down to the stream. From her main entrance is a kitchen garden not more than 60ft long with plenty of kales, spinach, tomatoes, beautiful papayas, tissue culture bananas and a grafted mango tree.
She has plenty of vegetables more than enough for her home consumption and as a result she sells the extra to her neighbors. She uses water from her well to irrigate the farm. Half of her shamba has Napier grass and on the other half mixed cropping of maize, beans and Irish potatoes. She practices mixed cropping for intensive production. She has 3 dairy cows that are well fed and very clean. Labour is well divided in her family, with her and the husband being the most involved.
Grace W. Waweru
For Grace intensive production is an art well mastered. Not far from her house she has a kitchen garden. She has planted kales spinach indigenous vegetables and fruit trees like Tamarillo and passion fruits. Her kitchen garden has plenty and sells the extra vegetables to the local community. She uses water from her well and says that no one can rely on rains any more for sustainability. For Grace rabbits are not just pets but a commercial venture where she was the first to sell breeders to other farmers in her group, it’s an investment with quick returns for in 4 and 6 months rabbits are mature for meat and breeders respectively.
She rears dairy cows which is the main occupation in her region and has 3 dairy cows and labour is well divided among family members. At the time of my visit her daughter was milking while her husband was pumping water for irrigation to the tank.
In the farm she has a good crop of maize inter cropped with beans and potatoes while other section has napier grass for her dairy cows. At the border of her kitchen garden are rows of khat a mild stimulant, it is more of a cash crop and unlike coffee khat has quick money.
James K. Thiongo
His story is very outstanding he lives in a rented house so the only thing he could do is to keep poultry and rabbits but to him rabbits are more viable. He has been able to do so much from his rabbitry project. He reared them in big numbers and every season he had a lot of manure which he sold to farmers in need of manure. After some years he decided to start horticultural farming at his home so as to fully utilize this high quality manure from his rabbitry project although his farm was a distance from where he stayed. He was successful in his new horticulture project although faced by numerous challenges but due to his determination he overcame his challenges through his innovative ways. He was innovative enough to think of buying a generator to pump water from his well for there was no electricity nearby his home making irrigation work easier.
For Raphael I would say it is survival for the fittest, as land sub division among generations has made it impossible for one to practice traditional farming methods. For this reason he opted to try his luck in a different venture and has been farming snow peas for two years now. he says that one can’t compare the returns from the snow peas with other crops grown around especially tea the main cash crop in his region. He started with a plot as small as 30×18 ft where the crop takes 6 weeks from planting to harvesting and can be harvested for another 6 - 8 weeks. Prices fluctuate greatly between 30 – 150 ksh per kg. For the plot his size he says the harvest will be an average of 200 kg per season so he can make between Ksh6000 – Ksh30000 in the 4 months from planting to the end of harvesting. For him tea the main cash crop in the area is nothing but slavery to local farmers.
For Ngige farming is more than a business but a passion too, he has been practicing horticulture for many years now having planted a wide variety of horticultural crops including cut flowers for urban markets in Nairobi. He has invested a lot in green house construction and drip irrigation. Sometimes back together with other farmers they were trained on organic farming principles and practices by Kenya Institute of Organic Farming - KIOF and since then he has never used chemical inputs like crop sprays and fertilizers on his farm. He has been successful in poultry, dairy goats and dairy cows projects. Inn addition to the above he has also done silk wormsyy and bees keeping projects.