Thursday, July 25, 2024

Kitui farmers see success with introduction of regenerative agriculture practices

Smallholder farmers in Kitui County have seen success with the introduction of regenerative agriculture practices to their farms. This comes after AGRA, in collaboration with its implementing partner the Cereal Growers Association, introduced the Strengthening Regenerative Agriculture (STRAK) program in the county.

The Strengthening Regenerative Agriculture program advocates for adopting agricultural policies in county governments and resilience through home gardens, water conservation, poultry keeping and agroforestry. The Project, funded by the IKEA Foundation and AGRA, has had a successful first and second phase.

The project has proved to be beneficial to farmers with 91% of farmers reporting substantial increases in crop yields by incorporating regenerative agriculture practices. A further 54% of farmers observed improved water retention, signifying a positive impact on water conservation efforts. The project has also influenced soil health, with 52% of farmers noting improvement in soil quality. Regenerative agriculture practices have also contributed to environmental preservation, as 45% of farmers have witnessed reduced soil erosion.

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Kitui farmer adding value to mangoes using sun, exporting to international markets

During a courtesy call to Kitui Governor Dr Julius Malombe, AGRA and CGA made a presentation detailing the progress that the project has made in the county.

“Regenerative agriculture practices have proved to have economic advantages, with 32% of farmers realizing cost savings. An additional 16% of farmers observed a significant increase in the availability of animal feeds, underscoring the multifaceted positive outcomes associated with adopting RA,” said Dr Kiwia during his presentation.

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The courtesy call was then followed by a farmer’s field day that saw farmers from around the county gather at a demo farm to receive information and training on how to incorporate regenerative agriculture practices into their farms.

The farmer’s field day also allowed the Village Based Advisors to showcase the success of the regenerative agriculture techniques that include the use of ripping to reduce soil disturbance, zai pits, incorporating agroforestry as well as livestock integration and home gardens.

In attendance was the chief guest, County Executive Commissioner for Agriculture in Kitui County Dr Stephen Kimwele, who stressed the importance of sector players:

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“This farmer’s day is a testimony that despite climate change, we can still do well in agriculture. As far as seed distribution is concerned, the county government will work with the national government to ensure that all agrovets sell genuine certified seeds,” said Dr Kimwele.

Farmers have gained a wealth of knowledge on Regenerative Agriculture, spanning a wide spectrum from seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals to effective storage methods. AGRA’s commitment lies in bridging the gap between suppliers and farmers, ensuring that agricultural products, brands, and the knowledge and skills needed to utilize them are readily accessible to farmers.

Also present, CGA Regenerative Agriculture Project Manager, George Maguka, reported:

“The partnership between CGA and AGRA has been very instrumental for the farmers. We have reached 47,000 farmers directly with training and capacity building through our 310 Village Based Advisors (VBAs),” said Maguka.

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