IMPROVED LIVELIHOOD THROUGH CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE
April 25, 2022
IMPROVED LIVELIHOOD THROUGH CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE - John Murithi
My name is John Murithi Muriuki. I am 41 years old and married to one wife, Joyce Kagendo. We reside at Mithigini village, Tubui sub location, Tunyai location, Chiakariga ward in Tharaka Nithi County. We are blessed with 5 boys and the firstborn has completed his primary school level and will be joining high school in May 2022.
I joined NCCK in September 2019 through the introduction by other Conservation Agriculture (CA) farmers in my village. As the head of the family, meeting basic needs was difficult since our main source of income was crop produce from the farm which was not enough due to unreliable and unpredictable rain patterns. My interest to join CA practice was due to the increased crop produce from the farmers who had joined NCCK before and were able to cater for their family needs with adequate amount of food for their homestead.
Before the CA project, I used to burn to all crop residues and plough the entire land without considering water and soil conservation measures. In my 2 acre of land, I was used to harvest 1 bag of 100kg of green grams. This was not enough to feed my family, pay school fees and meet other basic need. The situation was worsening every day since I was relying on farm duties from Tubui village to meet the basic needs of my family.
Tubui village farmers have large acres of land but their level of crop production per unit area is minimal due to convectional farming methods that has drained the soil fertility, and the number of rains received cannot support growth of some legume crops from planting to maturity level.
Personally, CA practice was not new to me, but I was not willing to adopt the new methods of farming. I thought that it was tiresome and time consuming. In May 2019 when the rainfall was not enough, I helped to harvest 3 acres of green grams under CA, in a land belonging to one of our lead farmers. I was pleased with what I saw and from then I developed interest in joining the group to be trained more on CA practices. In the same year, NCCK was recruiting more groups to join CA and I encouraged other farmers from my village and we formed a group for registration.
After joining NCCK in September 2019, I was exposed to various agricultural practises and trainings with the help of the NCCK Agronomist Peter Muthuri, and was trained more on soil conservation measures, use of rippers to minimise soil disturbance, mulching to maintain soil moisture content and improve soil fertility after decomposition of organic matter and reduce speed of water runoff.
Previously, I used to harvest one bag of sorghum per acre and after joining CA practice I can manage to harvest 8 bags of 100kg each, per acre.
Through trainings and farmer exposure visits, I decided to lease an acre of land under irrigation where I normally grows horticulture crops like okra, pawpaw, maize, kales and tomatoes. Under the CA trainings I was able to learn different method of planting, controlling pest and diseases, chemicals to be used to control them, and methods of weeding like use of herbicide.
I have benefited so much under CA practices and thus I’m able to income for my family and pay school fees for my 5 kids. I have also managed to buy 2 other acres of land and also one dairy cattle.
In conclusion, I take this opportunity to thank NCCK for their continued support in helping us understand farming as an agri-business in order to help us meet our basic needs and improve our living standards.