SOET(Socially Organised Educative Team) A community-based organization in Bungoma county has called upon farmers in the region to adopt the Agro-Ecology system of farming.
Miriam Kiilwa an Agro-Ecology project officer from Act for Change Consultants Kenya which implements the project on behalf of Fastenopfer from Switzerland says the project is currently implemented in 8 counties in Kenya.
Four of these counties from western (Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, and Busia) and is aimed at helping farmers produce healthy foods for their diet and to prevent diet-related diseases and also ensuring food security in the country.
According to Mrs Kiilwa, this system will reduce the cost of production since labor is provided by the solidarity group members themselves.
“In mt Elgon, we have 48 solidarity groups with over 800 members, we encourage Kenyan farmers to embrace this method since it’s cheap and with a lot of benefits for small farmers,” said Kiilwa.
She also said it’s easier to control pests and diseases from their crops since they use integrated pest management techniques whereby they make concoctions from medicinal herbs and spray their crops.
“For a very long time soil erosion has been a great challenge to Kenyan farmers but with this system, in place, farmers can control erosion by using trees which can hold together soil particles and at the same time be used as animal feed like leucine and calliandra” added Mrs Kiilwa
“We implement this project in two phases, a short term which entails kitchen gardening and long term which has food forest. In kitchen garden short seasoned crops like vegetables are produced whereas food forest ensures long taking crops like avocado and others are propagated” said Kiilwa
Former Elgon ward MCA Godwin Ndege who is the project officer in Bungoma county applauded the project it’s aims at empowering the community to be self-sustaining and helping farmers to minimize costs while maximizing outputs.
“Since we are using Common labor from solidarity groups farmers are not incurring extra costs for labor thus reducing production cost and the last stage of the project gives farmers a market network and with this brokers are eliminated and our farmers get good prices for their produce,” said Ndege.