Building the capacity of the Taita Hills farmers

During the month of October, the elaboration of adaptation strategies component of the CHIESA project held a farmers’ workshop in Wundanyi, Taita Hills. This training is in line with the project objective of increasing knowledge and building the capacity of the local communities. The two-day workshop involved discussions and lessons on integrated soil fertility management, integrated pest management of vegetables and addressing the challenges in drip irrigation farming.

The farmers learnt among other things:

  • The importance of manure and fertilizer to improve soil fertility and their proper application depending on the crop and region
  • Agronomic practices to improve fertility, such as use of cover crops, conservation agriculture and agro-forestry
  • Crop timing, gaping and selection of the right vegetables to grow. The farmers learnt that carrying out market survey to determine current selling price should be an important factor in determining the crop to plant. Another important aspect to consider would be the cropping calendar and the appropriate time of the year to plant. Proper crop gapping depends on the specific crop and must be done within two weeks of planting.
  • Crop rotation: This practice is important as it helps manage soil fertility and reduce diseases as well as support insect pest management. Crops from different families should be rotated. An example of a rotation calendar is shown below:

 

LEGUMINACEAE/MALVACEAE

Garden peas; Snow peas; Bread beans; Okra

ALLIACEAE ( onion family)

Onions (bulbs); spring onions; Leeks; garlic

SOLANACEAE/AMARANTHACEAE/UMBELLIFERAE

Tomato; Mchicha (Amaranth greens); Green pepper; Egg plant; Beetroot; Carrots

BRASSICACEAE

Cabbage; Kales; Cauliflower; Radish

 

  • Mulching: This practice preserves the moisture of soil by preventing direct sunlight and is recommended for the areas with low altitude and higher temperatures such as Mwatate and Kipusi areas of the Taita Hills. Dry grass and leaves can be used as mulch.
  • Integrated pest management of vegetables: Joan Mukiri of icipe took the participants through a session of identifying the different pests that affected kales, tomatoes and cabbage that were common vegetables grown in the area. See read more on this topic here
  • Management of drip lines: The participants of the training included the beneficiaries of the drip irrigation kit from CHIESA (Read about this here) who were taught on how to maintain their drip irrigation kit. The demonstration of this was done during the visit to the beneficiaries’ farms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan Mukiri (left) and Martin Gathendu (right) hold discussions on Pest management and drip lines maintenance respectively

The second day involved a visit to the farms of the beneficiaries of the drip irrigation kit. As a way of sharing knowledge and learning from each other, the beneficiaries have agreed to use their farms as demonstration plots for other interested farmers. These visits also provided an opportunity for the demonstration of the previous day’s sessions.  The farmers visited farms in Mwatate (low altitude); Wundanyi (mid altitude) and Werugha (high altitude).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participants visit different farms

 

To view more photos of the farmer training, please click here

 

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Cover Photo Novembwe December