Organic farmer amazes neighbours with crop

Through the use of organic fertilizer, timely planting, use of certified seeds and good crop management, Faith Mwelu was able to get a good harvest unlike other farmers who used chemical fertilizers. Ukambani is one of the semi arid regions that is characterized by poor rainfall.

For the last two decades, Faith Mwelu, a 35 year old farmer from Mikuyu village, Kathekakai location of Machakos County, has never seen a mature maize plant. Last season, Faith broke this trend on her 2-acre piece of land on which she has planted maize and beans. She bought planting seeds a month earlier before the rains begun. Earlier, she had requested for a supply of organic fertilizer from Environmental Conservation and Health (ECoH) holdings distributed through the Katumani Community Based Organisation resource centre.

Applied organic fertilizer

Faith planted her maize with an organic fertilizer (YAD Fertilizer) then top dressed the maize at a knee height with a liquid organic fertilizer from the same company (ECoH). She did the same to her 1 acre bean farm. Establishment and growth of the plants were very vigorous despite the little rains experienced during the season. She told this writer that each maize plant could produce more than 2 cobs while the beans had big seedpods. Many farmers in the area, who have been using synthetic fertilizers, hardly got any harvest. To explain the robust crop in Faith’s farm, some linked supernatural powers to the extraordinary growth they had witnessed in the organic farm.

Her crop yield has increased

Faith, however, explains that use of organic fertilizers, timely planting, use of certified seeds, proper spacing and weeding have contributed to the good crop in her farm. “Last season, I harvested 6 bags of beans, 3 more than the previous season in my one acre bean land. I will sell 5 bags, each at Ksh. 6,300. This money will help me meet some domestic needs and settle school fees for my sons,” she says. The maize yield was equally impressive. “I harvested 8 bags of maize from my 2-acre maize field, which is two more than what I got in the previous season,” she adds.

Group member emulate her

Faith has shared her secret of success with members of her farmers’ group (Kukena Kwa Sua Women Group), which has 22 members and her neighbors, who are interested in learning more about organic farming and other sustainable agricultural practices. So far, 11 farmers have been persuaded to try her approach. She is convinced, from experience that organic fertilizers are effective at improving the fertility of the soil.

Farmers can contact Faith Mwelu Bernard on 0729248056 Ecoh holdings company-manufacturers of YAD organic fertilizers can be reached through the Director, Dr. Nzuki-0722760500.

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I was recently invited to a workshop where results of a study on factors influencing household adoption of renewable energy technologies in rural Kenya by the National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND). The study was commissioned with support from KIRDI and the Swedish Embassy in Kenya.