My name is Ondabu Onsongo Newton. I’m 27 years of age, a youthful venture capitalist with great passion on farming, (especially organic farming). To start with, the larger Kisii County lies within the HPAs, where average annual rainfall exceeds 1000mm per annum. As such, the main source of livelihood in the area is rain-fed agriculture, and mostly subsistence farming. As a result of mediocre farming methods, Kisii experiences frequent crop failure that exposes a large number of people to extreme food shortage.
Extreme food shortage is exacerbated by extreme vulnerability and chronic poverty. A research report done recently (April 2013) by the Food Security steering Group revealed that poor agronomic practices as key contributory factor to the food insecurity situation in the region.
This, among other factors is cited to have a great influence on poor growth rate and the low yielding capacity. It is against this background that the project focuses on sensitizing of the target mothers, youths and other stakeholders.
Brief description of the project
The project is based on promoting sustainable livelihood to the affected society. The techniques to be promoted in the project will ensure households are food secure even during dry spells as well as alternative sources of income generation.
The approach to be used shall be drawn from the lessons learnt and recommendations from pilot and just concluded phases.
Improve food availability at the household level. Also, build capacity of the target population on improved agronomic practices
Improve the income generating capacity of the target population through mothers, youth and families adopting improved agronomic practices.
Proposed interventions of the project
Capacity building in improved agronomic practices and organic farming technologies by undertaking training in sustainable farming for farmers and teachers from Keumbu-Nyaribari Chache, and Suneka-Bonchari sub-counties of Kisii County. The participants will source the prospective target groups that shall be working under the project.
Project Goal and outcome
To benefit mothers and the youth in appropriate farming, creativity, art and craft, business, leadership and peacekeeping.
To contribute towards improving livelihoods and sustainable food security of the target population in Kisii County through promotion of improved agronomic and structural practices.
Improve food availability at the household level, build capacity of the target population on improved agronomic practices and improve the income generating capacity of the target population through farmers, schools and families adopting improved agronomic practices.
Project Itemized budget
Renting a demo garden&office space: $ 800
Construction facilities: $500
Water supply: $300
Training materials: $800
Workshops, seminars and conferences:$700
Proposed interventions of the project
The following but not limiting are the proposed areas that the project seeks to address:
Understanding the soil and its constituents, use of A-frame in soil and water conservation, composting and manure preparations for farm use, soil tillage techniques, natural crop protection, on-farm research techniques
Role of the project
Facilitate a group trainers’ workshop, to tailor head the development of the project, to offer logistical support to group farmers and teachers and facilitate group farmers’ registration to self help groups. Provide stationery to participants.
As a pilot project, the experience will be documented thoroughly and shared through dissemination of information and be used for further training. This will provide a learning opportunity for others likely to face the same experience. The project is based on promoting sustainable livelihood to the affected society. The techniques to be promoted in the project will ensure households are food secure through family farming, even during dry spells as well as alternative sources of income generation.
Example of improved agronomic farming technologies: Contour Farming using an A-Frame
Contour farming involves ploughing, planting and weeding along the contour, i.e., across the slope rather than up and down. Contour lines are lines that run across a (hill) slope such that the line stays at the same height and does not run uphill or downhill. As contour lines travel across a hillside, they will be close together on the steeper parts of the hill and further apart on the gentle parts of the slope.
Experiments show that contour farming alone can reduce soil erosion by as much as 50% on moderate slopes. However, for slopes steeper than 10%, other measures should be combined with contour farming to enhance its effectiveness.
Measuring of Contours by use of an A-Frame
- Three poles-of 2.5m length
- Handful of nails
- 1m – 2m strong string
- A piece of rock (stone)
- Two pegs
- Use the poles and nails to make a frame in the shape of an “A” (Picture 1)
- Tie one end of the string to the top of the “A“
- Tie the stone to the other end of the string, so it hangs down just below the horizontal crossbar of the “A”
Calibrating the A-frame
- Stand the A-frame upright on reasonably level ground. Mark on the ground where the two legs stand.
- Hold the A-frame still, and use the pencil to mark lightly on the crossbar where the string crosses it. (Picture 2)
- Turn the A-frame round, so that each leg stands exactly where the other had stood.
- Make a second light mark on the crossbar where the string crosses it.
- The two marks on the crossbar should be fairly close together. Halfway between them shows where the string would cross if the A-frame were standing on exactly level ground. Make a heavy pencil mark or notch the bar with a pocket knife at this point. (Picture 3)
Blogpost and illustrations submitted by Ondabu Onsongo Newton (Kisii County, Kenya) – onsongonewton(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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