Farmers in Migori are turning to organic and scientific agricultural practices to boost crop yields and minimize costs.
Robert Amianda, a farmer from Suna East Sub-county, claims that he has been using organic and scientific agricultural practices for four years after obtaining instruction from the County Government of Migori and the non-governmental organization “Send A Cow” (NGO).
Amianda’s half-acre farm features 20 different crops, including fruits and vegetables, as well as hens, goats, and cows.
He claims that scientific crop methods such as Keyhole, Aerial, Trench, and Mandala gardening are the reason he has been able to grow a large number of crops in a small amount of land, and that the gardening techniques also conserve crop water and moisture, increase crop production, and better utilize plant nutrients.
Amianda claims that organic farming has allowed him to save money on inorganic fertilizer and pesticides that he previously had to purchase.
He’s also been able to make the most of his one-and-a-half-acre farm thanks to scientific farming methods.
The farmer claims to employ organic fertilizer from his composite pit, liquid organic manure for top dressing, and “Plant Tea,” a pesticide and insecticide in one.
“I make liquid manure by putting fresh cow dung in a bucket with fresh water to liquefy for 14 days in order to produce the necessary nitrogen for crop top dressing. Plant Tea pesticide is made from a concoction of different plant and vegetable leafs mixed together with water for a period of 10 days”, says Amianda.
The 49-year-old farmer claims that the reason for using various plant and vegetable leaves is to ensure that all rodents and destructive insects are killed, and that he learned organic farming skills through training organized by ‘Send A Cow,’ the National government, and the Migori County government.
Being a member of a farmers’ cooperative has improved his agriculture and animal husbandry abilities, as well as his financial situation, thanks to the services and funds provided by NGO partners and the county government.
Amanda now advises farmers who have not yet joined a farmers’ organization to do so in order to reap the benefits that he has experienced.
Sylvester Jalang’o, 44, says that he uses organic and scientific agricultural practices on his one-and-a-half-acre plot of land, which he has set aside for crop production to support his family.
Fruits and vegetables are among the farmer’s 15 various types of crops. His acreage is always filled by crops to ensure market viability and cash production, he says.
“I do practice modern methods of farming that are primarily centred on organic production and consumption. The money I would have used to purchase fertilizer and pesticides, I utilise to increase my poultry farming and other ventures, notes Jalang’o.
He also acknowledges that organic farming has stabilized the PH of his farm soils, compared to when he was using inorganic fertilizer, which rendered the soils acidic, stating that his farm produce has substantially improved while his family’s health has improved.
According to Moses Onyango, a Peer Farmer Trainer (PFT) with the ‘Send A Cow-NGO,’ they teach farmers how to make the most of the few resources available to them in order to sustain their property.
He emphasizes that simple approaches such as Water Pan can assist conserve rainwater run-offs that can be used for irrigation during the dry season.
Onyango advises farmers to abandon the concept that certain crops cannot be supported unless they are grown in their native environment.
Many farmers believe that arrowroot can only be cultivated in swampy locations, according to the trainer, but the scientific practice of trench gardening indicates different.
He debunks the myth that all a farmer needs to do in trench gardening is dig trenches and mulch them to conserve the moisture and water required for arrowroot growth.
Onyango, on the other hand, explains that farmers must work in groups to receive this type of assistance and training.
He claims that working in groups saves resources and time over visiting each farmer individually.
He emphasizes that most NGOs want to help organized farmers who can sustain and improve what little they have in order to generate more income.