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Migori farmers embrace organic and scientific farming techniques  

Migori farmers are adopting organic and scientific farming methods, to improve crop production and cut unnecessary costs.

Robert Amianda, a farmer from Suna East Sub-county, says that he has been practising both organic and scientific farming methods for four years, after receiving a training organised by the County Government of Migori and “Send A Cow”, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Amianda’s one and half acre has 20 different crops that include fruits, vegetables besides poultry, goats and cows.

He notes that the scientific crop method like Keyhole, Aerial, Trench and Mandala gardening, is the reason he has managed to have a lot of crops in a limited space of land, adding that the gardening techniques also conserve crop water and moisture usage, increase crop production and utilises better plant nutrients.

Amianda says that organic farming has enabled him to reduce the expenses that he previously incurred in purchasing inorganic fertilizer and pesticides.  Scientific farming methods have also enabled him to utilise his one-and-a-half-acre farm wisely.

The farmer affirms that he uses organic fertilizer obtained from his composite pit, liquid organic manure for top dressing and “Plant Tea” that acts both as pesticide and insecticide.

“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 says the reason for using different plant and vegetable leaves is to ensure that all rodents and destructive insects are killed and acknowledges that he received the organic farming skills from training that was organised both by the ‘Send A Cow’, the National government and Migori County government.

Being in a farmers’ group has sharpened his skills in crop and animal husbandry and economically from the services and grants that groups get from NGO partners and the County government.

Amanda now encourages those farmers that have not joined any farmers’ group to do so to reap the benefits that he can attest to.

44-year-old Sylvester Jalang’o, who confirms that he practises organic and scientific farming techniques on is one and half acres that he has budgeted for in terms of crop production to sustain his family.

The farmer has 15 different types of crops that include fruits and vegetables notes that his land is always occupied by crops to provide market sustainability and income generation.

“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 stabilised his farm soil PH as compared to the time that he was using inorganic fertilizer that made the soils acidic, noting that his farm produce has greatly improved while at the same time improving the health of his family.

Jalang’o points out that his farm also serves as a demonstration farm that generates income when students and farmers visit to learn various productive farming methods pointing out that interacting with people from various backgrounds has also sharpened his worldview as well as opened up new markets.

Moses Onyango a Peer Farmer Trainer (PFT) from ‘Send A Cow-NGO’ says that they train farmers how to effectively utilise the little resources they have to sustain their land.

He underscores that simple techniques like Water Pan can help conserve the rainwater run-offs that can be used in the dry season for irrigation.

Onyango encourages farmers to desist from the notion that certain crops cannot be sustained if they are not planted in their natural habitat.

The trainer says that arrowroot, for example, is believed by many farmers that it can only be grown in swampy areas but the scientific method of trench gardening proves otherwise.

He demystifies that all a farmer needs in trench gardening is to create trenches and mulches them so that they can conserve both the moisture and water necessary for arrowroots growth.

Onyango, however, explains that for farmers to access this type of assistance and training they need to be in groups.

He says that working in groups is more beneficial in terms of resources and time compared to visiting each farmer individually.

He emphasises that most NGOs want to assist organised farmers that can sustain and improve whatever little they get in order to generate more income.

By Geoffrey Makokha and George Agimba

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