When we started working on our current farm in 2012, we envisioned a farm that would become the epicenter of the sustainable agriculture movement. On the farm, we have a diverse operation including organic manure, a mix of vegetables, flowers, herbs, cover crops, small grains, passion fruits, bananas, pawpaws, root crops-cassavas, Irish and sweet potatoes, arrow roots, grain legume crops that include; improved bush and climbing beans all grown organically. There’s an established tree nursery with a variety of agroforesty trees species including gravillea, calliandra, sesbania, and tesphrosia.
Our farm is the basis for all of our experimentation, education and outreach. We’ve created a variety of demonstration projects that can be replicated on farms and in small-scale farmer communities in the region, hence moving towards sustainability.
Our focus is to regenerate and maintain soil health without the use of harmful chemicals. Healthy soil is the foundation for human and environmental health, and when you see the beauty and health of the plants in our farm, it’s easy to understand the connection between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people
What challenges did or does your project face?
Due to poor agricultural opportunities, the rural sectors of Transnzoia small-scale farming families /communities are hotbeds of extreme poverty. They depend on the unreliable rains to grow their crops. Relying on the rain, farmers get only 1-2 harvests per year. The rest of the year, many farming families go hungry and fall back into poverty.
With everyone planting and harvesting at the same time, farming families all end up attempting to sell their crops in over-saturated markets for low prices where supply is high, but demand is low. Up to 75% of the food grown in the rainy season therefore spoils before it is eaten or sold. Unfortunately, just months later, when the rains dry up, these same farming families are left with nothing to eat and without an income, keeping them stuck in a vicious cycle of hunger and poverty.
The tools farmers need to escape from their dependence on rainfall however, not only exist, they’re for sale. Low-cost, high quality irrigation pumps for poor small-scale farmers with low-cost micro-irrigation can break this cycle of subsistence farming and lift thousands in the region out of poverty.
The long dry seasons often result in little food and wide-spread hunger. With rains becoming increasingly unreliable, the need and potential for Low-cost irrigation technologies for enhanced livelihoods is huge. Using the pumps, poor farmers can grow more food year-round, start profitable farming businesses, and lift themselves out of poverty
How are you working to overcome them?
Training and education in simple and high quality water harvesting and Low-cost, high quality irrigation approaches for poor small-scale farmers with low-cost micro-irrigation can break this cycle of subsistence farming and lift thousands in the region out of poverty.
What did you or your project learn this season that might be useful to others as well?
As we face uncertain and extreme weather patterns, growing scarcity and expense of oil, lack of water, and a growing population, we will require farming systems that can adapt, withstand or even mitigate these problems while producing healthy, nourishing food. After more than 10 years of side-by-side experimentation in our Farming Systems Trial (FST), CMAP has demonstrated that sustainable, smaller-scale farming methods are better equipped to feed us now and well into the ever changing future.Healthy soil is the foundation for human and environmental health, and when you see the beauty and health of the plants in our farm, it’s easy to understand the connection between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people