Receive much greetings from Drylands Natural Resource Centre (DNRC) family. As we share this quarter report, we trust you’re all well and safe especially during these hard times of Corona. Despite hard times of the pandemic, you have faithfully continued to support our work. We are forever thankful for your continued financial support which has so far contributed to the DNRC success and impacts as we serve humanity. Through this project on food forests and organic gardens, our current 800 farmers are able to benefit from vegetables and fruits coming from both food forests and kitchen gardens thus making them resilient to shocks and hazards like this corona pandemic. Our model of food forests involve farmers planting fruit trees, timber trees, vegetables, fines like sweet potatoes, shrubs like bananas and climbers like passion fruits in a forest-like model. Our vegetable gardens are all organic and diversified to increase nutrition. During this covid, we had to increase the gardens to cater for increased food needs due to restricted movement and market closures. Our farmers are able to get enough vegetables and sell extra for income to buy other food items like flour etc. At DNRC premises, we continued to expand the model of food forest and organic gardens which continue to supply and feed DNRC staff, interns and visitors. This has reduced expenses on meals for the staff and sell of extra for income helps DNRC endeavours towards self-sustainability. During the reporting period, the following activities took place: gapping and expansion of food forests at DNRC, at individual farmers’ farms and increasing organic gardens among DNRC farmers. Below are detailed activities during the reporting quarter:
During this reporting quarter, we had November-December rains so major activities included issuing farmers with diverse tree seedlings including fruit trees to expand their food forests. They also continued to weed and manage and harvest fruits from their food forests. At DNRC food forest, we continued to tend, expand, weed and harvest products from the food forest. During the quarter, we got 100kg of sweet potatoes, 30kg of bananas, 5kg of beans, 3kg of passion fruits, 2kg of cassava, 1kg of guavas and 5kg of vegetables.
Due to covid, kitchens gardens demand increased and we had to reach out more extra 200 farmers. We established bigger vegetable nurseries where we propagated more saplings which were issued and planted by our farmers in their individual organic kitchen gardens. Most vegetables planted during this quarter included: kales, spinach, black night shade, onions and amaranth. During this period, our farmers were trained and applied different dryland strategies such as sunken beds, storey gardens, basket gardens, Zia-pits and mulching. Other activities included constant spraying of natural concoctions for pests and disease control, wedding and watering.
Water is always our big challenge since we have no permanent source of water within DNRC. We continue to look for funding to secure water source through borehole but not successful yet.
FOCUS FOR THE NEXT QUARTER
- General maintenance of both the food forests and kitchen gardens
- Constant trainings and follow ups with farmer’s kitchen gardens and food forests
- Propagation of both trees and vegetable saplings for both kitchen gardens and food forests