After a journey of about 2 hours, Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security arrived in Yatta, where she and farmers were welcomed by Iris Maertens of Greenpeace Africa, and Martin Muriuki of the Institute of Culturedand Ecology (ICE). After their opening remarks, we delved into the day’s programs with Mr Isaiah Kamau, Senior Program Officer in Food Security and Livelihoods, taking the farmers through the initial part of the training which focused on agroforestry. He explained agroforestry, its systems (Woodlot, Integrated, Alley and boundary planting), and highlighted certain considerations that they should make when choosing agroforestry varieties to plant. Multi-functional use of the tree was emphasized. He also noted the necessity to farm in a way that is kind to the environment, using natural fertilizers, which are key principles of ICE and Greenpeace.
The area extension officer Mr. Nzomo concluded the theoretical training by explaining how to create terraces to prevent soil erosion and also to conserve water. He also talked about Zai pits, before underwent practical training on the farm of Mr. Muindi, the host, where they were shown how to make them . After the practical session, they convened for lunch and a recap on the day’s events. The farmers were urged by Greenpeace and ICE to ensure that they put the training into practice for the next planting season and continue to do so in future.
This function was important because the farmers here are gaining and practising a farming system which helps them increase their productivity as well as protect the environment. Higher productivity and a better-kept environment ultimately lead to better health and eventual well-being of the beneficiary members of the community. Yatta is a dry area in Kenya which is increasingly affected by famine, and thus this initiative goes a long way in creating a well-functioning and sustainable local community.
by Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security
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The above photos are credited to Ian Kiplimo from Smart Farmer magazine. Many thanks .