YAP proposal #147: Sack-Bag Gardening Technology and Organic Stall (Peter Ouma Okoth Aluoch, Kenya)

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I am Peter Ouma Okoth Aluoch, 33, a Kenyan citizen, from Migori County, Nyatike, Aneko Location. I hold a BSc in Agricultural Economics from Egerton University. I’m an agripreneur, doing business in Poultry (broiler) production and processing, sale of organic fertilizer, and currently started an organic stall in Migori Town to sell organic vegetables and fruits.

The project will be based in Migori town because of its larger market and a premium on organic products. The farming activities are based in Nyatike, 20 km from Migori, from where we currently get our produce.

I will use my organic stall business as a private partner to 20 farmer-based organizations, with an average population of 200 farmers. And I will facilitate the sack-bag gardening technology-transfer training and adoption in addition to best agricultural practices. The technology involves one sack-bag of 50 kg, which can carry up to 25 tomato seedlings (for example) until harvest.

One acre (100 x 100) of land at a spacing of 65 cm x 75 cm accommodates 205 tomato plants. That means you only need 205/25 sacks, which is eight sacks for one acre, and produce between 37–50 fruits per tomato plant, or 20 tonnes per ha depending on the variety.

This technology is an innovation that requires little water, little space, reduced labour, reduced energy, no dangerous agro-chemicals used, and with very high yields compared to open-field farming. It’s good for small scale farmers with little land and youth/women who own no land but have interest in commercial farming. I have tried the technology with some farmers during this dry season and it worked well, as seen in the attached picture.

The stall will make contractual agreement with the farmers to supply the produce and terms of trade will be spelt out in the agreement. In this business model, roles will be shared as shown below.

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The model will provide market assurance to the farmer groups, leading to stable incomes. And the organic stall will also benefit from a continuous supply of quality vegetables, thereby making a premium on the sale of the produce.

The choice of sack-bag technology is to ensure continuous production even during the dry season when there is little water and the farmers are not able to produce. At the same time, the organic stall will suffer a lack of organic vegetables affecting returns from sales.

Nyatike is a semi-arid area, experiencing one long rainy season a year and longer periods of drought. Given the high participation of the people in agriculture along the River Kuja, interventions that aim to develop the agro-industries are likely to have a higher impact on poverty reduction. However, the products offered by these people tend to be excluded in the increasingly competitive local agricultural markets that require products with an added value or with a standard quality and reliability in product delivery.

Most of these farming groups are not able to meet these standards, and are therefore not properly integrated into the value chain of the major agricultural commodity market systems. Consequently, they do not derive the optimum benefit from their farming activities. In addition, they are heavily affected by soil degradation and climate change, with its changing rainfall patterns and more extreme weather events.

This project seeks to improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder farmers in Nyatike by integrating restoration of natural ecosystems, facilitating a process of supporting the production and marketing of quality organic vegetables and fruits among 200 farmers, gender inclusion considered.

The project will promote organic agriculture, which combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.

The project’s main outcome is an increased share of organic vegetables being produced and marketed within Migori County by producer organizations and the organic stall. This will contribute to the development objective of increasing and stabilizing income among the producer and retailer sections of the population.

The Project activities are budgeted as follows and will begin with:

  • The identification of farmer groups who have the potential to participate as organic vegetable/fruit producers by exploiting their comparative advantages: USD 500 (first quarter)
  • Target groups will receive appropriate training in production management, product marketing, post harvesting management, financial management and group governance: USD 500 (First quarter, first–third month. Post-harvest training done second quarter)
  • Purchasing and setting up of two more cooling systems for fresh leafy vegetables and additional fruits: USD 2,500 (Second quarter, fourth–sixth month)
  • Dissemination of information among chain actors to ensure that trader groups and consumers are aware of the product, the need for healthy consumption and location of the organic stall in the market. This publicity will be carried out through sales promotions, advertisements, farmer field schools, sack-bag gardening demonstrations, product sharing, sensitizations, radio discussions, documentation, and sharing of best business practices. This will finally increase awareness, sales volumes, and profits to the organic stall, which will further expand: USD 1,000 (continuous from beginning till fourth quarter of the project)
  • Monitoring visits to enhance adoption of best organic agricultural practices and estimate expected output from the farms: USD 500 (Continuous from the beginning of the project)

I have already put up the organic stall in Migori Town, set up two coolers for fruits and vegetables, and establish a small organic farm to supply the stall, which is not enough. This calls for the need to mobilize farmers to supply the stall.

Success indicators will be measured in terms of increased sales and profits of the organic stall, and increased supply, and incomes of the farmer organizations. 

Blogpost and picture submitted by Peter Ouma Okoth Aluoch (Kenya): mailto:kokothpetro[at]yahoo.com 

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.

 

This post is published as proposal #147 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

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37 thoughts on “YAP proposal #147: Sack-Bag Gardening Technology and Organic Stall (Peter Ouma Okoth Aluoch, Kenya)

    1. Gilbert thanks for your post. The sack bag technology, when I tried it for the first time in Ghana, in the dry part of Upper East Region I thought it would not work. I saw several vegetables do well and the farmer in the picture above really confessed excess produce than if he would have planted directly in the scorching heat in an open field. We can support it further for market access in other rural areas

  1. I thought this proposal is very complete and the technology is very inclusive… Very good idea Peter… I will even try this sack bag technology in my house…

    1. Mary thanks. Let’s take it to Philipines, especially in the East Asia to support the small scale farmers there, and also the Landless. It has higher returns on production

    2. Hello Lapointe, I am happy to see your comment. Great Idea indeed. Lets team up with this kind of business model to support our businesses and at the same time create an opportunity for the community to benefit from our businesses. I think the Business model has tried to explain how sustainable the project and the business can be in this line

  2. Thank you for sharing Peter.Your ideas are always are on point.The demonstration you did here in Ghana with this technology speaks volumes.

    1. Thanks Vitus, I think this technology can help solve rural water problems, and best organic practices. We are exploring more on it to see how far it can move with our farmers

  3. This is a great idea and i would like to learn about the technology and introduce it to my community.

    1. Thanks Khadija. I think it’s a good technology that is suitable for both dry season and rainy season. Because of that reason, most farmers should prefer it as it is less labour intensive with little water requirement

  4. Very innovative and sustainable technology for the ordinary farmer in the wake of climate change. With limited space and right inputs, production can be maximized for improved livelihoods.

    1. Hello Vincent, Thanks for your contribution. I think farming has, and should move to stage where with limited resources and right inputs, as you said, (water, land, labour), we should still be able to produce. Its important that we work hand in hand with technology in farming and through out the whole value chain to bring in sustainable creative ideas for a better returns. So brother I support your contribution

  5. Peter, This is really a great idea and you should not leave Ghana without helping me set up a sack-bag garden. Your innovation is so promising that we are considering the possibility of including it in the next phase of the Myfarm project. hopefully, you will continue to avail yourself to provide consultancy services in the future.

    1. WOW! I am happy to see you here John K. Sure, the Sack bag technology is here to stay. I think it would be a good course to consider in terms of working on a business model with the farmers, so long as the farmers are committed and practice the best technology practices, with right business mind in their farming. Nothing can stop them and you from earning out of this technology. We will keep in touch to help out communities

  6. Good initiative peter. The sack garden technology will help reduce poverty among small holder farmers. Three of the farmers I work with have started with the technology to produce tomatoes in the Bongo district of Ghana. Great work.

    1. Hello Albert, thanks for your contribution. I am happy to hear about this, that farmers are beginning to adopt to the new technology, I am impressed. Actually, when I was trying it, I didn’t know it could succeed to that extent because of the climatic conditions especially in the Northern Region of Ghana, but I am challenged by the good results. Keep the spirit of sack bag gardening burning in the hearts of the farmers for success brother.

  7. Awesome Peter and i wish you the very best. The sack garden you piloted at Youth Harvest was fantastic and its good to hear from Albert that farmers wants to adopt it. I will visit ur farm at Migori ok

  8. GREAT INNOVATION MR PETER.I WILL SURELY CONTACT YOU WHEN AM READY TO IMPLEMENT THIS TECHNOLOGY IN MY BACKYARD.BUT ALL THE SAME ,I AM STILL WAITING FOR THE PRODUCE OF THE FIRST PHASE TO PREPARE MY STEW.BECAUSE IT TASTES GREAT AND MORE NUTRITIOUS.

  9. Wow! Millicent, so you still remember the trial at Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana? Well you will surely get your fruits, but the best way is to teach you how to fish. so I will organize to come and show you how to produce healthy vegetables using this technology and consume healthy produce and make a premium on sale of your excess

    1. Hello Kody, thanks for your post. This is possible for healthy vegetable production and consumption, especially for the leafy and fruits, but not tubers

  10. Hi Peter. I like the sack bag technology. Is there somewhere that this system is described further? I would like to share this with family in Asia. Thanks

    1. Hi Daryl, thanks for your feedback over the sack-bag technology. Well, these are new techniques that are coming up into practice currently because of the challenges many farmers or other people experience in the open field farming. So there is no other place the write up can be found unless we can link up to make a write up to help you assist other people. Which part of Asia is this?

  11. PETR, go forward this good news. united you will achieve your objective,thanks for sharing this skill.

    1. Thanks Jimmy for your encouragement. I will push it to support our farmers while we develope it further for a premium in our organic market

  12. this is great peter, sack bag gardening is surely the way to go to ensure food security. i am also working with a group of farmers on the same in trans-nzoia and hopefully i intend to extend the project to other arid regions in kenya. big up.

    1. Winnie thanks for your comments. Its good to hear you are working with farmers on this. The sack-bag is the best for our arid and semi arid areas, I have tried it successfully in Ghana and now I have established an organic garden which I am planning to train farmers to be able to supply using the Sack bag technology. Lets keep in touch to share more about how we can take it up further away from here.

      1. Hi Peter. Your technology is great and very brilliant. I want to work with you to transfer this technology into Sierra Leone. What help you can provide to me in this? Looking forward to hearing from you.

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