Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Revisiting Our Kachuth Demo Farm

 On the 28th of May 2012 at 8.30 am, we begun a muddy and slippery journey to our demo farm in Kachuth, Kobama Division with the Divisional Agricultural Officer, Mr. Omotto.
On our motorbike carrier; were the MM cassava series cuttings, a species that is resistant to cassava mosaic, drought and also matures in less than 5 months. The local species takes a life span more than 12 months to mature and furthermore, it is susceptible to the threatening cassava mosaic, a disease that flushed out most cassava plantations in Kenya in the late 1990's.
The 5 maize species, 2 sorghum species, tomatoes and the bean species are already at the knee level. Even though crops are doing much better, but the excess rain is now streaming threats to the beans and the tomatoes that are already fruiting. 
All these threats have been taken into account and the farmer too has been advised on the control measures that he has to check on or communicate to us whenever they persist. 
Otherwise we are projecting to have the field day either in late June or mid July 2012. All our readers and follower are invited when that time comes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Media Reporting on Climate Change

Distinguishing ‘climate variability’ and ‘climate change’ has remained a very thin line to most communities and even to the knowledge managers. 
In an eight days workshop in Nairobi-Kenya, Wren Media a UK based organization, converged a team of 12 radio journalists from East Africa to have a simple and clear understanding of what climatic change is and how the people in Africa are adapting towards its effects.
 This workshop was to enable journalists from all over the East African continent to have an informed reporting on the subject matter. It came out clearly that most journalist have avoided reporting on this subject with a notion of it being either too scientific, a new concept or most media houses having  not built the capacity of the reporters on the subject plus much and more list of reasons.
But for many years in Africa now, we have had ‘climate variability’ in various instances and the people were able to cope up with it since they could predict on when it’s most likely to occur and for how long. These were caused by climate variability; but ‘climate change’ is when such disasters like drought, floods e.t.c  become more frequent , too prolonged and worst of it, extreme.
You have to note that climate change is not local to a given area where you reside, but it’s a global issue that is crosscutting and it impacts both on your social and development life. In areas next to mountains, hills or large water bodies like Lake Victoria; the area is most likely to have a certain micro-climate that may vary from time to time; this should never be mistaken for the global climate change effect.
It also came out clear that 60% - 65% of Kenya’s energy is hydropower based, a danger that is worth checking due to the residing water levels in most of our dams, rivers and other water sources. The Kenyan government having noticed this in advance, there is exploration of the geothermal power in Naivasha town alongside other clean energies likes wind and biogas to supplement it and also reduce the percentage of CO2 released into the atmosphere by the fossil fuels.
In our next issues we shall be exploring how farmers in different regions are adapting to the effects of climate change and what one we need to understand about carbon market in Kenya. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Best Basic ICT Trainees Get Rewarded

Every single effort recognized and appreciated in a person, rekindles the brain to deliver and perform at its best all times when called upon. 
On 17th April 2012, we recognized the efforts of the best performing trainee from each of the four classes in the second lot. The team comprised of youths, farmers, teachers, administrative officers and community leaders from all walks.
The four were identified by their trainers in terms of performance, respect and punctuality during the seven weeks training. We never had much to present them, but talks of encouragement, appreciation and guidance dominated the one hour meeting before wrapping up with the organization’s most beautiful T-shirts. This does not mean that the rest never delivered; and we too appreciate their efforts and marvelous work during the entiretraining. May their efforts fruit in all their endeavors.

Monday, May 7, 2012


On the 18th April 2012, in the company of the DAO, Kobama division, Mr. John Omotto, we established a demo plot at a farmer’s plot, Mr. John Nyabuto, in Kachuth village, East Kobwaye Sub-location, Kobama Division. In attendance we had 12 members (9 M & 4 F) from different groups in the area. The seeds and the fertilizer were provided by Kobama Division Ministry of Agriculture with ALIN giving the necessary information on the procedures to be followed.
On the first demo plots (17 meters x 5 meters) the crops were planted with DAP 18:46:0 fertilizers for the best result.
Plot Number/ Name
Species / Crop grown

Simlaw Curl J (Tomato)
SC Punda Mlia 53 (Maize(200g)
SC Duma 43 (Maize(200g)
SC Simba 61 (Maize(200g)
KN 500 43 A (Maize(200g)
DK 8031 (Maize(200g)
Gadam Sorghum (KARI)
Gopari Sorghum (Indigenous breed)

We are to finish the planting of various breeds of beans and groundnuts on 25th April 2012 on the remaining plots using different techniques like pure stand, mixed cropping and the rest.
Immediate Feedbacks
·         The farmers who were present during the activity said that the idea of planting using lines/strings, certified seed and fertilizer was such a nice idea and they too are going to wait for the outcome of this and implement it on their farm but one of their greatest fears was the price of the fertilizer. They say it’s too expensive for a common man to afford and if they can get it at subsidized rates, then at least each farmer can achieve the best.
Mr. Okoth Nyabuto whose farm we are using for the demo has 2500 stems of the Simlaw Curl J tomato but he is saying that he cannot still get Kshs. 40,000 from it at the end. When we asked him for reason he said “tomato production is all about medicine, you have to spray it all the time until harvesting and that one I can’t afford”, we informed him that a good farmer needs to plan in advance before going to the ground, because if he actually did, then he would be expecting thrice what he is current dreaming of. The DAO gave him Mil-rush pest control for him to spray on the tomatoes. This idea has made us take his tomato farm too into our demo plan to make the rest learn from it and we are looking forward to assist him get some of those required chemicals in time.

Contact person: John Nyabuto 0713 355 421.


On the 5th April 2012, we attended a chief’s Baraza in North Kobwaye location during their community annual review of the location’s activities and progress. We were yet again here on a different mission and with a different agenda. We had approx 225 members (100 F and 125 M).
The guest speaker of this event was Mr. John Omotto, the DAO Kobama Division and in his accompany was our Field Officer (ALIN), Gerald Yongo.
The two main agendas here were on:
·         Climate change adaptation practices
·         Crop damage policy
·         ICT and agriculture
Climate change adaptation
Mr. Omoto expressed his disappointment on some farmers who had been given drought resistant crops like the Gadam millet, Cassava and the rest but had left them to be spoilt by the grazing animals and today they are the same people complaining of hunger during this drought season when they were supposed to be enjoying from their yields.
He also criticized some farmers who had been given the millet seeds to plant in the previous season for free and still kept them in their home in fear of chasing the birds when the millets flower. He firmly stressed that if we the people of this region don’t change our attitudes towards development, then we might face a lot of difficulties with the changing climate. It sounded so bad that those people who were complaining of the weight in chasing birds wasn’t that they were busy doing a better thing but busy gambling in the market from morning to evening.   
Crop damage policy
From the above agenda, Mr. Omotto, the DAO, stressed on the issue of crop damage by animals.  He said that farmers should control and manage their animals in a manner that they do not go astray to spoil other farmers’ crops. This is an issue that has been causing unending conflict in this division especially now that sugarcane production has taken over most fields used to lie fallow in relation to the construction of the Riat Sugar Factory.
The officer further explained that the Ministry of Agriculture has been given a mandate by law to assess any crop damage and write a complainant assess report within 24 hours and the case will be solved in a court of law with that report as the evidence. The procedure that is to be followed when you find a person’s animal damaging your crop, you are suppose to call a second person to witness before removing the animal totally from the scene, then tie the animal somewhere to avoid further damage as you seek for the owner of the animal to witness the damage too and also confirm that the animal is his or hers. From here now you can comfortably report the case to the chief and the Ministry of agriculture. The assessment will be based on three categories: cost of production, horticultural stage and the ready stage with different expected compensations from the owners of the animal. This was something that was highly welcomed by most people in the forum, some saying that it will reduce the carelessness that had been previously bred in the division by some animal farmers.
It came out very clearly that if our farmers are not careful, we might not even enjoy the benefits of the developments in this region because even sugarcane that is the only cash crop here will all be damage by our animals and the newly installed company will begin importing sugarcane cuttings from other neighboring constituencies.
ICT and Agriculture
After such a lengthy discussion, our field officer Mr. Gerald Yongo took over from Mr. Omotto summarizing on all the mentioned agendas and their impact on the war against extreme poverty in the country’s vision 2030 goal. The government and other stakeholders are doing their part to stimulate the growth and development of our people but a few people are not positive towards change. That’s that.
Talking about ICT and agriculture; we realize that technology of each every production is changing on an everyday scheme, not just for the sake of it but, for the most economically and efficient way that can be replicated by every farmer with the most minimal technical skills.
This strongly brought in the idea of ICT training and other services offered at Ndhiwa Maarifa centre (ALIN). Mr. Omotto intercepted and informed the farmers of how technology has come to be in that with the ICT skills, one is able to even research on issues affecting their productions through the internet or even the internet enabled phones from their farmers. We had to respond to a number of questions concerning the services and how we choose groups to work with. The area chief took over after me and challenged the people on how many good things had come their way and they didn’t explore the opportunities, and now this one is here again and he is watching.
·         4 farmers from Wachara have reported crop damage following the right procedure.
·         The chief has confirmed that there is a reduction in the number of cases reported on crop damage to 2 in a week as compared to last month when he could receive 5 cases or more in a week.
·         The area chief has referred 5 people to be trained on ICT skills plus her assistant. Considering the distance (50 KM), we felt the need to give chance to all of them despite the long queue of demand.
Contact Person: Asst. Chief Judy: 0710-55 96 81.


On 4th April 2012, we visited a lead farmer Mr. Catrinas Nyapara in North Kobwaye Location, Kobama division in Wachara sub-location. The identified farmer is a lead farmer in the location and has had a good track record of implementing most of the good practices trained on them by a good number of partners. He is also a member of a group comprising of 28 members (18 M & 10 F).
We also opted for the place since it was by the road side and just a few meters to the market centre. This will make the field day be very effective in terms of the number of people who will access the place and furthermore, one can always admire them from the roadside on his/her way.
The farmer also practices:
  • ·         Beekeeping
  • ·         Local poultry
  • ·         Banana plantation
  • ·         Maize production
  • ·         Millet production
  • ·         Cassava production
  • ·         Tree planting

During the site mapping, we were with Mr. John Omotto the DAO Kobama division who has been able to link us up with some of the best farmers so far. The plots were measured and marked in the presence of the farmer with every detail of the process place at his finger tips. The Ministry of Agriculture had provided seeds and fertilizer for the demo plots. The planting has been done and we are yet to make to make a follow up of the germination.
·         The impact of this is yet to be felt especially after the field day which we haven’t scheduled yet.


On 2nd of April 2012, we joined Arina Cluster group during ‘sim sim’ for export planting. The group is registered as a self help group with 20 members (12 M & 8 F) whose main objective is to focus its efforts to adopt new modern method of farming through practicing good agronomic practices. The group was formed by C-MAD-CEFA in the year 2009.
Activities of the group:
·         Groundnuts production
·         Sim sim production
·         Bee Keeping
·         Chilly production
·         Group saving and loaning scheme
·         Behaviour change and communication targeting couple in our community because there are effects of HIV/AIDS in agriculture.
The group partners with:

  • ·         CEFA - C-MAD
  • ·         Ndhiwa Maarifa Centre (ALIN)
  • ·         MOA / Livestock
  • ·         Mace Food
  • ·         Rusodev
  • ·         Ministry of Social services
  • ·         Co-operative Bank
  • ·         Plan International
On this day, CEFA teams were here together with ALIN team to ensure that the contracted farmers planted the ‘sim sim’ in the right procedure to achieve the best quality products. The major reason why we had to do this is because the contractor/buyer had given out the seeds for the production and was also the ready market for the same for export. More than 4 acres were sawn.
The idea was brilliant but our farmers need to take the support they are being given very serious in that after a few lines demo, the advisor needs not to stick by them until we are done with the last line to ensure it is done rightly. I believe this market is for the good of them and therefore they need to show appreciation by doing it right.
Otherwise the ‘the sim sim’ have germinated very nicely and we are both looking forward for the best result. We have also trained the three officials of the group Mr. Morris Ombili, Mrs. Angelina Akello and Mr. Joseph Odhiambo and they are able to access other best ways of managing the product in the farm and during post harvesting.
Contact person: Joseph Odhiambo 0728-984 597
·         IMPACT: yet to be realized after the harvest and market probably in July - August 2012.