Food For Life – Ecological Farming in Kenya

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Kenya. A country famous for its hard working people… …fertile soils and a tropical climate which ensures two rainy seasons a year. Ideal conditions for a healthy and prosperous agricultural sector. As climate change is making an impact across the continent… …African farmers are having to adapt rapidly to new and uncertain conditions. This film will be looking at the ways Kenyan farmers are increasing their climate change resilience… …by adopting ecological farming. With large scale farmers focusing on sale and export… …it is left to small scale farmers to produce the bulk of the food that feeds Kenyans. They have different incentives to embark on food production as Karen Achieng' explains. Agriculture contributes to the livelihoods and food security of over eighty percent of the Kenyan population.

That is why the country's policy makers are looking to agriculture as the main driver of national development. Irrespective of their motivation to get into farming… …farmers are all too familiar with a common set of challenges. In Kenya, the unpredicatibility of the weather and droughts… …are by far the most difficult challenges. Some farmers have turned to measures tailored to their specific situation… …in an effort to adapt to climate change. In Bungoma County, Prisca Mayende has taken up agro-forestry… …a method of growing crops in the forest. It has proven to be a measure that has greatly transformed her household… …as well as her community. Over in Machakos County, Francisca Mbuli is taking advantage of indigenous knowledge.

.. …by introducing crops on her farm that have adapted to local climatic conditions over time… …and are better suited to a changing climate. Most small scale farmers rely entirely on rainfall for their farming needs. Sometimes, it takes a great amount of resilience to get by… …something farmer John Wambua knows all too well. The water pan he dug at the beginning of the year stands empty. Every farmer's desire is to get higher yields… …address food security concerns, improve their livelihood… …and adapt to the difficult climatic conditions which are affecting food production. Organically increasing the fertility of the soil… …is one of the most successful means to improve productivity. Diversifying into different crops is a good strategy… …to spread risks and build in harvest guarantees. While the farmers are under pressure to conform..

. …to industrial models being sold across the region… …some Kenyans are raising the profile of ecological farming… …by proudly investing in research and knowledge generation. One such place is Manor House Agricultural Centre… …that is located in Kitale. Since its founding in 1984… …the centre has provided training and certification in ecological farming. More than three quarters of all agriculture in Kenya is carried out by small scale farmers. Their abilitiy to cope with a changing climate is of critical importance to feeding Africa. A large scale switch to small scale ecological farming… …will make farmers more resilient to the changing conditions. It is a transition that needs to happen collectively. Or as they say in Kenya: sticks in a bundle are unbreakable..

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