Organic Farming in Kangari - Kenya

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“Schooling in Europe, I saw organic products being sold in stores alongside conventionally produced products and the organic products were fetching premium prices. It got curious and later leant of the many benefits associated with organic products. When I returned home, I decided I was gonna do something and in 2006, I established the Organic Agriculture Centre of Kenya (OACK) as an NGO to promote organic farming in Kenya and especially in Eastern Aberdare Agro-Ecosystem” .........and that’s Stephen Wainaina’s story.

Like Wainaina, many Kenyans have understood the benefits on organic agriculture and are making the switch.  The Biovision HO and Biovision Africa Trust Staff from the www.infonet-biovision.org project paid a visit to OACK in Kangari to see how farmers are organically producing and to explore ways of collaborating with OACK to help them further.

The team visited Ms Miriam Njoki’s farm, on her 1 acre farm where she cultivates tea as a cash crop mixing with other food crops such as maize, vegetables (kales, spinach, cabbage and broccoli), bananas, sugarcane and fodder (nappier, calliandra). Ms. Njoki started practising organic farming a year ago after being trained by OACK. She said that with organic farming, she has been able to cut on the external inputs and still get higher yields.  Ms Njoki received a cow from her mother which now supplies her with the dung for composting and  use as fertilizer.

The team also visited Mr Apollo Ngumba and his family who live and depend on their 3 acre farm. Like the first farmer, they also cultivate tea in combination with other food crops such as banana, pumpkin, passion fruit, tree tomato, broccoli, nightshade, calliandra, desmodium, baby corn and maize. For 5 years now, Mr Ngumba has cultivated all his crops organically and he says he has no regrets for switching to organic agriculture.

The two kenyan based organisations; OACK and Infonet are now working on how they will collaborate to assist farmers.

 

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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.