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Ibrahim’s 20X20 plot of land under Conservation Agriculture during the first season of the project
Ibrahim Kithaka Makembo is a husband, a father and a proud farmer. The father of 4, who hails from Tharaka Nithi county, has also adopted 3 other children whom he takes care of.
The farmer told Jumuia news that before he was introduced to Conservation Agriculture (CA), his hope in farming was fading. He relied on traditional farming methods which were very unreliable and cumbersome. “For instance, I would burn all the crops residue instead of utilizing the residues by mulching. There was also the problem of weeds and pests which I was unable to control. Soil erosion was another challenge I was grappling with as my farm sloppy”, he observed.
As a result of his farming methods, production was very low. One acre would give him about 115 kilograms of maize and about 55 kilograms of green grams.
However his fortunes would later improve when he finally met Rev. Kimbo who introduced him to C.A, thus being among the first beneficiaries.
The first workshop was held in Meru where participants were taken through rigorous training on C.A. “We were trained that Conservation Agriculture entailed preserving and conserving soil and soil water through soil cover, minimal soil disturbance and crop diversification through crop rotation and intercropping”, he said.
He revealed that he was surprised when he learnt that a little plot of land (20x20) would give him more produce with less labour. He said: “After the training, I went ahead and set aside a portion of my farm where I would practice CA. I applied all the principles we had been taught, planted the seeds we were provided with, and waited patiently to see the outcome. During this period, NCCK agronomist in the field would visit my farm frequently to assess the progress and also advise me in instances of any challenges”.
Ibrahim and his wife with part of the maize they harvested
From the small plot, Ibrahim was able to get about 150 kilograms of maize, a significant improvement from previous yields. “Remember I would get 115 kilograms of maize for the whole acre but with this 20x20 plot, I am getting over 150 kilograms”, said an elated Ibrahim.
With the knowledge on C.A, Ibrahim now acts as a lead farmer, guiding 21 other farmers. He has been able to impart knowledge and also sparing time out of his busy schedule to practically show them how to apply the principles on their farms. As a result, one of the farmers he trained managed to harvest 180 kilograms of maize in his 20x20 plot and she has vowed to put one acre of her farm under CA.
However, there are challenges that face farmers here. “Although pests and diseases has been a major challenge for us, I now have the knowledge on how to control them through the trainings we have attended”, he revealed.
Mr Ibrahim during the interview with NCCK Program Officers
Ibrahim was among the few farmers whose soil was sampled to determine soil quality and how suited the soil is for growing some specific crops and what soil management measures needs to be done to improve the soil quality. “I thank NCCK for soil sampling done to my land. I am now able to know which type of crops to plant and the required measure of inputs”, he said.
Ibrahim on his farm during the project’s second planting season. Notice the amount of mulch he has applied on his farm
Message to Partners
“I thank NCCCK and her partners for rolling out this project. The trainings and support given to us is very beneficial and this knowledge will always remain with us for many years. On my part, I will continue sharing this knowledge to other farmers so that the whole community benefits. I believe that in a matter of time, my life will change for the best courtesy of Conservation Agriculture. “