Helping rural farmers
This programme aims to help farmers in Western Kenya to improve
their living standards by accessing two technologies that could
improve their crop yields. Location of the activities is part of the province of Nyanza, a patchwork of small
farms, averaging about half a hectare in size, hence a densely populated but
rural landscape. Family incomes in this region are low and any
marginal assistance through improved crop yields or pest resistance
are socially important to people living there.
The technique of 'priming' cereal crops by pre-soaking them, either
in water or for optimum results in a phosphate fertilizer, is one that
is proven in use in rural Asia, but is not common practice in Africa.
This project aims to demonstrate the benefits to a large number of
farming families in Western Kenya, and to make the process sustainable
by introducing it as an affordable commercial product.
Striga is a parasitic weed that attacks cereal crops in tropical
climates. Its effect is to severely weaken the host plant and rob it
of nutrient. The effect on crop yields is dramatic and causes a
devastating effect on the livelihoods of poor farmers in developing
countries where Striga is present.
The agent being used in this project is a naturally-occuring fungus that in research
has been shown to specifically attack the Striga plant, leaving the
host untouched. The project aims to find ways to bring this research
into practical use.
January 2011: Mama Allan collects
maize from the harvest. Some
of her plants had trialled GroPlus.
Meanwhile (right) farmers are signing up for the next trial
planting in March.