“Relying on crop diversity and manure has increased our income”
Bosco and Veronica Kimani story stands as an opposite to George’s. Indeed, despite the challenge with chemicals from neighbouring farmers, inaccurate weather information and the poor market, the Kimanis are thriving. They have diversified into planting strawberries, pepino fruit and grafting tomatoes to increase their income.
Ten years ago, the climatic changes started biting hard in Kenya, the Kimanis saw an increase in crop diseases and pests. Then, they relied only on maize and beans, but to fight the looming food insecurity due to the ever changing patterns, they resorted to planting a variety of food crops including cassava which can survive the extremes of weather. The Kimani’s, unlike their neighbours, opted for traditional solutions that were right in their backyard – their livestock.
“…We were trained on composting. We grow our food using organic manure. For pests, we plant crops that we plant such as “mifangi” and onions, that have a smell that chases them away. So even if we don’t use chemicals, we manage to grow our food crops and survive.”
Today, they beam with pride as they speak about their exclusive use of organic manure for 30 years. Their choice to practice farming without any chemical inputs goes beyond money. “The food grown with chemicals is causing a lot of diseases. Organically grown foods reduces the risks of so many diseases.”
“ If we all used the traditional methods it would be great.”
Unfortunately, they acknowledge that “…while our local manure works well, it is frustrating to be in the midst of farmers who use strong chemical sprays as it kills the crops and sometimes drives the pest into our fields. If we all used the traditional methods it would be great.”
Whereas food grown using chemical fertilizer looks attractive in the market, the Kimanis say, that food is bad for the people’s health. The couple hopes the government would sensitise people on healthy food so that “…eco farmers get the market we deserve.”