One Innovation Follows Another
“Thank God this program landed at just the right time,” says Henry, who had been feeling despondent over his fruitless farming efforts in the face of drought and poor soils. Here’s how he went from despair to dispensing advice to neighboring farmers looking to replicate his results.
Little rain had fallen since 2020, and his tried-and-true farming methods just weren’t working anymore. He was harvesting at most 330 lbs. of maize and 177 lbs. of beans from his three acres of land, and he was at a loss as to what to do next.
In September of 2022, Henry joined the Farmer Field School and a Village Savings and Lending Association under local partner Anglican Development Services – Mt. Kenya East (ADSMKE). Tentatively, he began trying Conservation Agriculture techniques. To rejuvenate the hard-packed soil, he mulched a small piece of land and then planted cow peas as a cover crop on the remainder. In the spring, he farmed two acres and let the third one rest. He trusted the advice and appreciated the reduction in labor, since he did all his planting by hand. He planted millet, sorghum and cow peas, all drought-tolerant crops.
Henry reported improved production the following February. He harvested 1,058 lbs. of maize, 441 lbs. of millet, 89 lbs. of sorghum, 67 lbs. of cow peas and 111 lbs. of beans. All this on just two thirds of his land, and with less effort!
With support and monitoring from ADSMKE, he began raising chickens, built a chicken coop to protect them (something he’d never even thought of before), started a kitchen garden right by the house, and took out a loan to buy a goat and a 132-gallon water-collection tank (with plans to buy another). His wife has learned how to prepare tasty and nutritionally-balanced meals with what he produces. As part of a push to improve sanitation, he built an outdoor dish rack to keep washed dishes clean and off the ground.
In short, Henry barely recognizes the desperate farmer he was just a few years ago. He has gained resilience and feels ready to cope with tough climatic conditions. He feels more creative as he figures out ways to make things better with a tweak here or some new practices there. And he loves having ground-millet porridge every day.
Kenya Igembe Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Anglican Development Services – Mt. Kenya East (ADSMKE)