Maragua Division, Kenya
As a community, we express our sincere gratitude for your assistance towards alleviating the socio-economic challenges that we face.
We indeed appreciate your support for our cassava project. The crop has proven to be an answer to the problem of food insecurity in the area.
Cassava has been adopted fully by the locals as an alternative crop for human and livestock consumption. Presently, over 7,500 families are cultivating and utilizing the crop. All these have received cassava planting materials through the project. The mill, which you helped us acquire, is effectively grinding the cassava into flour. The mill was purchased and installed at 7,400 US dollars, from your generous contributions. It now operates sustainably as a social enterprise!
As listed on our GlobalGiving page, the other challenge bedevilling us is water scarcity. We are already making strides towards providing a source of clean water for our people by 2016. We plan to drill borehole water for domestic and irrigation uses. This is after a hydrological survey that was conducted confirmed the viability of tapping underground water in the area. The project is now duly registered with the relevant state agencies. The locals have already started making contributions towards the project. We will also be seeking support from various donors.
Thank you again for your continued support!
Attached herewith is a scan for the registration certificate for our water project
Maragua Division, Kenya
About 80% of Kenya’s population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for subsistence. In addition, unfortunately, approximately 80% of Kenya’s land is arid or semi-arid. Cassava has the great benefit of being drought resistant. Historically, research and development in cassava as a food staple has been weak due to poor staffing levels by government extension agents. Our community has been trying to overcome these limitations by directly disseminating information on the benefits of this crop in such a dry area as Maragua. In the nearly four years this project has been in existence, many community members have directly benefitted. One is Njoroge, Njoroge is a 24-year old man who recently adopted cassava cultivation. Unlike other farmers who are majorly cultivating cassava for its starch- filled root- tubers, he is growing cassava for its vitamins-rich leaves. Cassava leaves are gaining acceptance as alternative vegetables. Njoroge has just begun selling the leaves and seems to have a great vision to reaching out to more customers especially in the urban centres. The leaves are an organic food as no fertilizers and farm chemicals are used in cassava cultivation. In addition, they are more nutritious as compared to the staple vegetables such as kales and spinach. He says, " Healthy- food eating culture is fast being adopted in urban homes and that will definitely create a huge market for me."
Thank you for your continued support to help us achieve food security and to spread the word about the benefits of cassava.
It is yet another frustrating season to the Kenyan farmer. The season started well with farmers planting crops as rains began to fall in October last year. However, the rains subsided two months later in December. A maize/corn crop requires five months of rainfall to mature. This pre-dominant staple food has already began to wither and die off prematurely while in the field. County governments across Kenya have started issuing famine alerts such as “Food security among an estimated 45 percent of the population of the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural livelihood zones will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the post-harvest period due to a far below average short rains harvest and its effects on agricultural labor and staple food markets.” However, farmers in our cassava project catchment area are cushioned from total losses.
In the photos is a local farmer, Mr. Francis Muchoki inspecting his drying maize crop. He is again seen admiring his cassava crop which has been able to withstand the drought conditions. He says, " I have learnt a lesson. I will henceforth do cassava cultivation only."
All the best.
I wish to inform you that we hosted 6 PATHWAYS scholars, other university students who are part of PATHWAYS and have their own community projects, and who hail from different parts of Kenya. The purpose of the visit was to learn about cassava cultivation and encourage them to replicate the project in their communities. This is in line with our project's mission to reach out to more communities and have them benefit from cassava as an additional and much more beneficial, nutritious, cost effective food, fodder and cash crop. They visited our demonstration plot and about 20 plots owned by different farmers. They also went to the mill where they got an opportunity to handle milling for about 2 hours. Additionally, they sampled different cassava dishes- chapatti, ugali, chips, crisps, porridge, doughnuts. At the day end, they carried with them cassava tubers for cooking and cuttings for planting. Their report to us is that they were overly impressed and they are willing to help us partner with their communities in embracing of cassava growing. This will help their community members increase their food security and also increase their income.
One of the major causes of hunger in Kenya is the over-reliance on corn and beans as the staple foods. These are crops that cannot withstand adverse weather conditions such as drought. Our community has however successfully adopted cassava to enhance food security. The good news has spread far and wide. We recently hosted a group of researchers from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute who wanted to know the impact that cassava has had on the food security status of our community. We showed them around and gave them a presentation on our work as well. We hope that they can learn from our experience and initiate a national program on cassava cultivation. The attached photo shows a community member explaining how she has benefited from the crop. In front of her are young cassava tubers.
Having already left the university, I am back in the village where I am volunteering in the planning of my county's (Murang'a County) Agricultural Show, next month.
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