Better yields, better income and better food

One of the persistent challenges facing many African farmers is an agriculture system that insists upon using certified seeds and the agrochemical pesticides and fertilizers that accompany them. But long ago, Theresa Makena, 49, took a decidedly different approach – ecological agriculture.

A member of the Kibuka farmer’s group, Theresa has grown her 10-acre farm over the past 30 years so that it produces millet, sorghum, sekunde as well as livestock such as cows, goats and chicken. But in recent years, climate change and an ever shortening rainy seasons meant she needed a different approach.

Five years ago her farmer’s association was using chemicals for seed preservation but after receiving eco-ag training, they stopped and started using organic manure from their own cows. She says that learning ecological agriculture methods requires more labor but it’s worth it – and profitable.

“One of the things that I am happy about since I started farming organically, is that I now have nutritious food with a better taste.”

After receiving training from the Institute for Culture and Ecology in Kenya (ICE), Theresa was able embrace ecological farming methods to ensure her crops had enough water. The innovative method of creating Zai pits enabled her to increase her yields even when farmers around her, still reliant on natural rainwater, were struggling. Theresa’s yields are so consistent, her granaries are filled to the brim with seeds for the future.

“Yes, I am seed secure. I harvested in July and I still have seeds from the January / February harvest. So, I can say I am food secure as well!”

She adds that her food tastes better than it used to as well. Now, Theresa is sharing her ecological agriculture knowledge with neighboring farmers so they can all plan for the future.

Also read Gervasio’s story, and how ecological farming works better than the use of chemicals.

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