I live in Kenya. My home area has a high rate of poverty and many people live well below the poverty line. This has been occasioned by many factors. Some of these include:
- Political instability in the 90's and the worst of all in the year 2007-2008
- Poor marketing for their farm produce
- Poor agricultural practices
- Over-farmed small farms - poor soil fertility
- Exploitation by brokers who use extended packages for farm produce.
- Ignorance on how to deal with glut produce.
- Lack of diversity in their farming practice
I own two pieces of land totaling 12 acres. My aim is to set up a model integrated farm. This farm will be a resource for the community around it where they can learn techniques on how to use their farms for their own food safety and profits. It will be a farm that will help the community around me (and any other people who may visit) realize that it is possible to move out of poverty through the little pieces of land that they own and live a dignified life. The farm will be practical oriented where visitors will be able to see farming practices that they can apply immediately in their own land. The aim of having an integrated approach to this farming is to diversify and reduce risks. However, individual farmers will be free to focus on the area of their interest.
Areas of interest
The following are considered areas of interest in the farm. They are ideal for the area. They include:
- Intensive (zero grazing) dairy farming as the core practice.
- Pig keeping
- Rabbit keeping
- Mushroom growing
- Farm produce value addition
- Poultry keeping
- Water harvesting and management
- Small scale farming mechanization
- Vegetable and fruit growing for health and profits
- Fodder production and storage
This resource farm will endeavor to help visitors to practice sustainable agriculture. For example, it will help them to put farm wastes to good uses such as biogas production and safe manure preparation and use. It will also be a place to learn how to minimize post-harvest losses.
This will be a center where farmers will be helped to see the need of working in groups/cooperatives.
As part of its education efforts to students, farmers and aspiring farmers the farm intends to build a class room that can hold up to 45 participants at a time. Here, visiting experts and successful farmers can teach groups on how to succeed. This is intended to be a resource center with the right equipment for teaching purposes and light refreshments.
It is my aim to work with other stakeholders in an effort to support causes in the community and beyond that help the poor improve their lot and lead dignified lives. In summary, the funds will be used for:
- Planning the layout (professionals will be used for this)
- Getting the necessary documents from the authorities and environment agencies
- Putting up the necessary structures
- Getting the starting stock - animals or plant material
- Hiring/contracting relevant professionals - an agronomist, animal health expert and others
- Purchasing necessary equipment and small machines (such as a walking tractor) and relevant accessories.
- Part of the funds will be used to set up a foundation whose aim will be to feed kids in the nearby primary schools who go to school without food because their parents cannot afford it.
This project is aimed at helping not only individuals, communities, but also a generation that is and that which will come. It is about helping people live healthier and wealthier lives. It's about empowering people from down up.