We had the pleasure to partner with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) during the Nairobi International Trade Fair on matters concerning ecological farming as an adaptive measure to climate change. The partnership gave us an opportunity to share with the public the importance of ecological farming to the environment as well as the benefits to the small-scale farmer.
It was interesting to see people from all walks of life converge at our table for a sip of wisdom. We had primary school students, University students, professionals and full-time farmers coming by our stand. They were all attracted by the beautiful indigenous seeds displayed on our table. Additionally, they were curious to know what seeds had to do with the “Climate change response program” signage we confidently stood under.
Ecological farming as an adaptive measure to climate change
In support of the climate change response program, ecological farming is a suitable way of farming that does not pollute the environment. Ecological farming discourages the use of fertilizers and any additional chemicals and seeks to increase the amount of yield throughout seasons by encouraging the use of indigenous seeds.
“These are my seeds. Knowing your ecological region is the first step as a farmer. Then get the right seeds for that particular region which is what we are calling the indigenous seeds. The seeds you see here I have personally grown them in Machakos and they are doing so well,” said one of our contact farmers, Judith Kivaa, to a curious visitor.
The most sort after seeds were big beans traditionally known as Nokhe. Judith said Nokhe had run out from the market but her fellow farmers and herself are putting effort to multiply it for commercial purposes back in Masinga, Machakos.
Other seeds included Cowpeas (Kunde), Amaranath (Terere), Millet, Sorghum, Pigeon Peas, Green grams (Ndengu) and Black beans (Njahi).
Hybrid seeds and soil fertility
Our goal was to warn the public of the dangers of boarding the GMO train and to alight if they were already on it. Genetic Engineering inhibits seed development of a species that allows it to pass down genetic reproductive capability.This is why the yields of such seeds, better known as hybrid seeds, reduce after the first harvest. Hybrid seeds further need fertilizers to boost growth and are not adaptive to the changes in climate.
Additionally, we advised farmers on the ways they can increase the soil fertility of their farms without using fertilizers.
“One can use soil enriching practices such as intercropping, cover cropping, mulching and using organic manure. This makes the soil more fertile for conducive crop growth and ensures minimal use of chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides,” said Food For Life Campaigner, Claire Nasike.
Ecological farming works! It aims at overcoming environmental, climate, and technical hurdles while increasing the output produced for consumption. What we need is to embrace it on a small scale and also on a large scale as we seek to move to a food secure nation.
Originator: Phyllis Ng’ang’a