The Mango Tree Orphan Trust Fund -Kenya has been implementing the achievable ambitious plan of improving the livelihood of 1500 rural farmers through agribusiness. It has been more than a year since the project was initiated and several agribusiness projects have been initiated and are ongoing. The project's fundraising target is $50,000 and we have been able to raise $13,643. This amount has been used to construct a modern grains store, construction of a modernized poultry farm, buying the poultry farm inputs, buying the poultry feeds milling machine and has been used to loan the registered farmers in the cooperative society capital for buying soya bean seeds for planting. This same amount has been used to initiate some agribusiness activities that benefit the farmers. The key agribusiness activities here include goat farming, poultry farming, apiculture, aquaculture, cassava farming, ground nuts farming, mango farming, soya beans farming and tree planting. For the quarter under review, the organization planned and accomplished the following activities:
I. FARMING ACTIVITIES
The organization in partnership with the registered local farmers, County and National Government agricultural extension officers and other agribusiness institutions implements many agribusiness projects within Homabay and Migori Counties. The organization is implementing the following specific agribusiness projects:
Beekeeping keeping has been progressing very well in this reporting period. This has necessitated more distribution of beehives to farmers with an additional 40 beehives being provided to other farmers hence increasing the number of beekeeping farmers to 104 and beehives so far distributed to 181. Honey production has been so good during this period, giving a product of 404kg of pure quality honey processed.
We have experienced long heavy rains during this period and this has affected the ponds along the lake shows giving a total loss to farmers since the floodwaters swept all the fish to the lake. Nevertheless, there has been a good harvest of fish from the ponds in the office demonstration farm and currently, harvesting is ongoing for the two mature ponds.
Plans are underway to help salvage the situation of the ponds along the lake shows by building dikes to help in preventing the lake water levels from reaching the ponds and even the floodwaters from sweeping the fish away.
c) Poultry Farm
During this reporting period, the two incubators were not stocked with eggs for hatching due to frequent fluctuations of power failures that affect the incubation. However, 54 birds remained at the poultry house having sold some with 5 Cocks and 49 hens. 18 hens are currently laying eggs daily and there are already 10 crates of eggs each with a capacity of 30 eggs in stock ready for the market.
Way forward of Poultry farming
- Employed a reliable farm assistant
- Improve data for the poultry farm for easy monitoring
- Avail reliable and quality feeds supplies
- Install solar panels to act as a backup for the power outages
d) Goat Farming
There has been massive placement of local does to farmers with a total of 74 Does distributed to 74 farmers making cumulative farmers benefiting from the placement to be 215 with 255 Does. This placement has contributed to about 56% of the targeted 130 more farmers who were to benefit and this was attributed to heavy rains that were experienced at the beginning of the year that brought outbreak of diseases and also the high cost of local Does purchases than the budgeted amount.
Way forward on Goat Farming
- Passing on of the delivered kids to other farmers to increase placement
A beneficiary with her gifted local does
More placement to be carried out to hit the 44% target remaining for placement
- Continue working with the County Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to monitor any outbreak of infectious diseases, vaccination and prompt treatment of the goats.
e) Tree Planting
Since the cessation of the rains, the organization embarked on raising tree seedlings for planting during the next long rains in March 2020. Currently, 40,000 pot seedlings have been raised ready for planting with the four planting strategies in mind: Woodlots, Edges/Boundaries, Orchards, and Swampy/sand mines areas.
Thorough mobilization has been going on in public primary and secondary schools in which almost 120 school heads have granted the organization permission through writing, that planting can be done in their school compounds. Sensitization is still ongoing so that even churches and private institutions will be willing to provide a plot where at least 1000 tree seedlings can be planted.
Part of the potted tree seedlings at the nursery
It is estimated that by the end of April 2020, 60000 tree seedlings would have been planted since plans are underway to increase the potting of the seedling with additional 20000 seedlings.
Way forward on Tree planting
- To hit a target of 60,000 tree seedlings distribution by end of April 2020 as long rains continue
- Continue with offering farmers with extension services on the best strategy to employ while planting depending on the kind of soil topology of the farmer.
- Concentrate more on reclaiming the deforested sand mines and swampy farms.
- Engage other stakeholders e.g. schools, hospitals, and government in the planting of trees within their institutions or government lands.
II. SUCCESS FACTOR
The organization has been able to utilize the raised $13,643 into various projects that are of benefit to the organization.
- Power fluctuation is a challenge in the poultry farm. The incubators require 100% availability of electricity for the best hatching rate. Power outage makes the project cater to the expensive cost of fuel for the generator that acts as a backup when there is a power outage.
- The organization is grateful to the donors who constantly support the projects through donations. However, funding remains a key challenge to implementing this project since the funds raised has not been enough for the successful implementation of the activities. Out of the $50,000 budget, $13,643 has been successfully fundraised and the organization is, therefore, appealing to the donors for continued support. The organization is also utilizing all available opportunities in the various projects to ensure that it gets income from the various projects to fund and expand on its projects. Moreover, the organization utilizes the cheap labor from the community volunteers as well as the senior beneficiaries who support the organization as a way of giving back to the community.
III. Plans for Next Quarter
- Poultry project has got a plan of purchasing a solar-powered incubator to solve the problem of power fluctuation that reduces the hatching rate.
- Poultry farm has plans of reaching over 1600 farmers and therefore start thinking about value addition for farmers e.g. processing and packaging.
- There is a total of 55 farmers groups that do savings and table banking on their own. The project plans to help these groups with money for table banking to boost their loan interests.
- Continue with farmers extension services for tree planting to understand the kind of their soil topology
- Install a solar panel at the poultry farm to be able to start another round of incubation.
- Working with fish farmers to construct dikes around the ponds along the lake shows.
- Passing on of the delivered goats' kids to other farmers to increase the placement target.