Farmer groups spur adoption of simple farming technologies

groups.JPGA group of smallholder farmers in Nyakach, Kisumu County are enjoying the benefits of adopting simple farming technologies in vegetable production. Members of Biju power group are now able to provide their families with a constant supply of fresh vegetables even during the dry season when vegetables are scarce, and the little available is very expensive.

KIWASH uses farmers groups to promote low cost farming interventions that can positively impact family income, nutrition and child health. KIWASH trains the lead farmers on good agricultural practices and sustainable low-cost farming technologies. The lead farmers then coordinate training and practical demonstration sessions to community members.

Forty four year old John Ochieng is the lead farmer of Biju power group and was pleased that his farm was selected as a demonstration center for other small holder farmers in Nyakach. He has established multi-storey, moist and raised bed and container gardens, where he grows nutritious vegetables such as kales, amaranth, jute mallow, black nightshade and cow peas.

The garden has now become an attraction to community members, most of them women interested in growing the nutritious vegetables on display. Ochieng has successfully supported 47 smallholder farmers to establish kitchen gardens in their own homes.

“We never knew that we can grow vegetables in recycled containers, which require very little space and water,” says Ochieng.

This model of farming is being applied in eight counties under the KIWASH project and as a result 643 kitchen gardens have been established at the household level, while 1,043 farmers have been trained on good agricultural practices and establishing simple farming technologies to impact nutrition and household incomes.

Through the KIWASH project, USAID is working to improve food security and nutrition, and promote economic stability among rural communities in Kenya.

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