Introducing Conservation Agriculture
Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy; contributing 24 percent to the country’s GDP. The sector also accounts for 65 percent of the Kenya’s total exports and provides for more than 60 percent of informal employment in the rural areas. The sector does not only drive the Kenyan economy; it also provides the means of livelihood for many Kenyans.
Majority of the people living in communities adjacent to Lewa are small scale farmers. In order to assist these farmers to maximize their produce and minimize any negative impact on the ecosystem, the Lewa Community Development Programme has partnered with Participatory Approach for Integrated Development (PAFID) to train the farmers in Conservation Agriculture.
Conservation Agriculture is a widely acknowledged crop production method that helps farmers increase their productivity, adapt more effectively to adverse climatic conditions, improve soil fertility and minimize any negative impact of agriculture on the environment.
This programme is designed to train 10 pioneer farmers in Matunda, Subuiga, Ntumburi and Ethi communities who will in turn transfer the skills gained to other farmers in their respective areas. The exercise has already commenced in Ntumburi where 10 farmers underwent training which covered all aspects of conservation agriculture - mechanization, animal draft power, minimum tillage hoe for farmers, correct use and application of herbicides, fertilizer requirements and placement, crop rotation and planting.
The Ntumburi pioneer farmers have implemented the practice on 0.25 hectares of land which will be used as an experimental farm, and also for other members of the communities to assess the benefits of Conservation Agriculture.