Thinking Beyond

Even though Hellen just joined the Farmer Field School in her village in July of 2023, life for her and her family has already improved.

She immediately began attending sensitization workshops on Conservation Agriculture, poultry management, crop diversification and improved farm production. She started applying all new knowledge and skills as soon as she acquired them. After the training on poultry, for example, she vaccinated her 13 chickens against Newcastle disease, a nearly-always fatal virus that was rampant in the area around September. Hellen says with relief, “My neighbors’ chickens died but mine survived.’’

As a member of a Village Savings & Lending Association she was able to borrow money from her group to buy two “improved” chickens. These heavier birds produce more eggs and are more disease-resistant than local or indigenous breeds. Her intention is to continue to upgrade her flock in this way.

In the October-December rainy season, she decided not to till her one-acre plot of land but to mulch a small piece of it as a test. The maize she planted on the mulched land is much healthier than the plants on the rest. Her fields also include cowpea and green gram (a legume also known as mung bean), both drought-resistant crops. She was able to save money by not renting a tractor for plowing which she can use to cover other critical household expenses. All this is encouraging her to adopt more Conservation Agriculture practices in the next season.

After receiving instruction on the nutritional benefits of fruits, she planted two mango trees, one fast-growing passion fruit tree (which will produce fruit within a year) and two “pawpaw,” or papaya, trees. She is looking forward to supplying her family with fruits grown right on the farm. “I never in my life would have thought of planting fruit trees,’’ she reports happily.

All in all, Hellen says that the program is an eye opener, making her “think beyond,” as she puts it. She feels extremely encouraged and is eagerly looking forward to receiving more instruction and applying whatever new skills come her way.

Kenya Igembe Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Anglican Development Services – Mt. Kenya East (ADSMKE)

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