The Mango Tree Orphan Trust Fund-Kenya has initiated a workable ambitious initiative to boost the livelihoods of 1500 rural farmers through agribusiness. We have launched and continue to implement several agribusiness initiatives with the goal of the project fundraising being $50,000 with $15,675 realized.
The organization organized and rolled out the following activities for the latest quarter:
I. FARMING ACTIVITIES
The organization, in collaboration with registered local farmers, county and national government agricultural extension officers, and other agribusiness institutions, is undertaking a number of agribusiness projects in the Homabay and Migori counties. The organization executed the following specific agribusiness projects:
Beekeeping is one of the farming activities that the Mango Tree Orphan Support Trust has been supporting the farmers within Wang’chieng, and Upper Kakwajuok of Rachuonyo North Sub-county, Nyawango, and Kokwanyo regions of Rachuonyo East Sub-county respectively. This quarter, we have been following on the 40 Beehives that we distributed this year, carrying out honey harvests, hive inspections, and farmer's training. Over this period, we have harvested 94Kg of honey. This was from 12 beehives out of the 40. The Beehives were not colonized at the same time, hence they could not produce honey at the same time. Some are still in the process of and we hope it will be up by next quarter. Some of the farmers who harvested their honey have diversified their incomes to other farming activities like poultry. A particular farmer sold 20Kg of honey and purchased 20 six weeks’ old chicks to start poultry farming. We want them to diversify so that, in case one venture fails, then the remaining could support the farmer. We are planning to have Beehive keeping as one of our baseline ventures, where produces from the honey can be used to fund other ventures since beekeeping does not require so much input as compared to other farming activities.
- Identify new households that will benefit from the proceeds (pass on program).
- Identify new households that will benefit from the new beehives that we intend to distribute.
- Carry out more continuous training to all farmers so that they have information on how to domesticate bees in the event of any emergency.
- Identifying key farmers among themselves to be further trained in controls on hives, harvesting, and general management.
- Carryout more Beehives inspections that may lead to more harvesting in the future
- Introduce the farmers to other new ventures as a form of diversification in farming.
- Identify new households that will benefit from the proceeds (pass on program).
b) Goat Farming
Goat farming is one of the many ventures that TMT-Kenya is currently implementing in the communities in which we work. This year alone we distributed 78 new local Does to farmers, adding 78 new farmers to our ever-growing community of farmers. The goats are doing very well and some have already sired young ones, which will be ready for pass-on in a few months.
Pass- on- a gift
TMT-Kenya goat project has a culture of passing on young kids to new farmers. One is given a got by TMT-Kenya, and when the goat gives birth to a new kid, the first kid is passed on to another farmer so that the chain continues. For instance, we distributed 78 goats to 78 farmers and we expect that all the 78 goats will sire young kids and more 78 farmers will benefit.
So far, we have passed on 25 young kids to 25 more farmers, bringing the total number of farmers who have benefited from the goat project to 103. This project is quite viable since the mortality rate of goats is not so high compared to other livestock. Since the commencement of this project, there are farmers who have had more than six generations of goats. One receives a goat and after three years the farmer has six more goats, hence the population in her farm increases concurrently with income-generating activities.
The Ministry of Livestock has been supportive and it was of great importance in keeping the goats safe. The organization has been distributing calliandra for further support to farmers, which is a fodder tree mostly aimed at boosting the feeds for goat farmers.
- Continue guiding and training more farmers on the modern methods of goat keeping with fewer risks of diseases and pests.
- We currently have community veterinary entrepreneurs who support our farmers in cases of disease control and treatment. This should continue in order to keep our goats healthy for improved productivity
- Establishment of adequate quality goat feeds as a sustainable management practice.
- Perform routine follow-ups on the farm.
c) Tree Planting
The period of November 2020 to March 2021, has been a dry weather condition, which has been unfavorable for tree planting. Most of our farmers have difficulties in watering their plants. Water is a general problem, actually in these regions, even for our livestock and human consumption, and as such, it wouldn’t be wise to give trees at this time. However, TMT was able to raise different varieties of both forest and fruit trees (calliandra, cypresses, eucalyptus saligna, eucalyptus grandis, whistling pine, grevillea, and grafted mangoes, totaling up to 4,950 seedlings. The initially distributed seedlings are well established and the community tree cover expected to improve in the next six (6) months with the current short rainfall.
a) The rainy season is just about to start and therefore we continue with the tree distribution and monitoring the progress of the already established trees to ensure that tree cover in the community is improved.
b) More sensitization training to the communities on the importance of both forest and fruit trees.
c) We intend to source for more varieties of trees that will supplement the ones that we currently raise.
d) To continue linking up with the local administration and the Kenya Forest Service department to strongly intervene and minimize human-animal habitat conflicts to ensure growth is attained and control on cutting down trees aimlessly.
d) Poultry project
TMT Kenya has embarked on a robust poultry project that involves 1600 farmers in Homa Bay county. These are farmers who have been profiled for poultry farming in partnership with Heifer International (NGO) in a project dubbed Hatching Hope. With this project in its top gear, whereby the Mango Tree Cooperative, is due to receive a poultry slaughter, TMT Kenya saw it wise to come in handy in jumpstarting the process of Poultry keeping to vulnerable farmers who otherwise if not aided would find it difficult to start the poultry project.
During this reporting period, we identified 75 vulnerable farmers, 15 from each region of our operation, and gave them a grant of 20, two-month-old live birds, each to raise in addition to a bag of 50Kg of poultry feeds each. This would help the farmers to start the project while looking for other sources from which to bolster their poultry farming. 1,500 Rainbow Roosters were distributed. In addition, 3,750Kg of poultry feeds were also distributed to the farmers during the same period.
These were the first and the second phases of the project, which targeted 125 farmers. The third and other subsequent phases are to follow in Mid-March through to May. The intention of this project is to help these farmers to start an agribusiness venture from different ventures.
TMT-Kenya is working with Wang’chieng, Nyandiwa, and Kiwa caregivers on how best we can help/support the vulnerable household through sustainable aquaculture that would directly improve household incomes, improved nutrition, enhanced social capital, empowered women by giving them their own independent livelihood and an improved the local environment that would be sustainable so that they are able to accommodate their families in different levels targeting the cage proceeds.
Restocking of the community ponds
The communities have prepared their previously harvested dam-lined ponds for restocking. We organized fieldwork to assist and monitor the farmers preparing their ponds. On the same note, we managed to help the 4 farmers restock their ponds with fingerlings based on their savings from the cooperative. This has been through the support of the county fisheries office who also provided technical support to the farmers. The restocking of the ponds was in line with the farmer's demand based on the source of fingerling.
Mobilization of others to top up their savings is ongoing and we expect they would top up on their savings to facilitate restocking of the ponds. Through the cooperative society, we have managed to create collaboration with the sub-county cooperative office and the ministry of livestock and fisheries on how best we can support the fish farmers through training and supplement on their inputs
New dam liners installation and stocking
Within the same period we completed the installation of the 9 dam line ponds within Konyach and Kasirawa fish farmers, the farmers have managed to completely fill their ponds with water to the required capacity. We conducted different pieces of training on pond managements including dam line installation, pumping in and out water, pond fertilization/manure to boost algae/micro-organisms development to supplement the fish feeds, feeding stages and routine monthly sampling. The 9 households’ farmers have managed to completely fertilizer the ponds awaiting the fingerlings from the supplier to manure for stocking.
Even though the cages are in individual private premises, we are working closely in hand with the 9 lead caregivers from the 9 groups who play the role of linkage to the rest of the team, they visit the site and observe/practice all the operation as they are trained on cage management practices as we planning to enroll the project to them in the near future for their own operations and management. They are also being trained on cage installation and management, sourcing for recommendable post fingerlings for the cages, cage stocking, repairs, routine monthly sampling, feeding, and harvesting of standard fish to the market. Again, on the same monthly TMT conducted business management skills to equip the caregivers with the information of how best they can run their businesses on the following sub-topics;
- Drawing business plan and market survey.
- Customer care and retention.
- Profit and loss account books.
- Profit maximization.
- Risk and opportunities within their business.
- Expansion and savings.
Household survey findings
TMT conducted a physical interview with the caregivers and the orphans and the following were our findings;
- A concern when it comes to caregivers/beneficiaries' health status as they lack information on how to acquire health insurance cards, monthly deposits and its importance due to the extreme poverty level on the caregivers.
- High level of dependency as a result of HIV/AIDS which as accelerated challenges to the communities when it comes to food insecurity, high number of orphaned children left under the care of unemployed widows and vulnerable caregivers.
- High risk of HIV and poor sexual health due to the high prevalence of sexual exploitation linked to lake fishing.
- The major source of income is fishing in the Lake Victoria and is slowly becoming unreliable due to destruction of fish breeding areas and overfishing.
- Due to unreliable climates and the global impacts within the area which have resulted to reduced farm produce leading to great food insecurity and nutrition effects.
- Extremely high number of vulnerable households with are single-headed with women who fully depend on relationships with fishermen in order to participate in the fishing industry for their livelihoods.
- Migration of caregivers with their orphans from beach to beach as a result of COVID 19 and in search of fish which have affected their livelihoods.
- High number of gender based violent/young children defilement and abuse cases within the region.
Harvesting of fish cages in Kiwa
We managed to harvest and make sales of fish from 4 cages for a period of 2 weeks. The market price was Ksh.300 per kg of fish.
With the four cages, 2886 Kgs of fish was realized and part of the proceeds have been plowed back to help in restocking and also aid in paying fees for one of the girls in secondary day school among the vulnerable household.
- TMT will channel the little proceeds from the cages to support beneficiaries more so the vulnerable whose rights have been violated/abused, school fees of the orphans in school and those joining secondary, to boost caregivers’ small/medium/micro-business within the Island so that they can take good care of their households and lastly to support the restocking process of the cages.
- Continue with the training recipient farmers on group savings and loaning activities and sales of mature fish from the remaining fish cages.
- To stock the newly installed dam line ponds.
- To monitor the progress of the project.
- To collaborate further with the county Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, sub-county Cooperative Society Office, and any other organization to support on-field school training and any other adjustment for the project.
- Due to the effects of global warming, we have had a share of its impact in our project area and specifically the earth ponds along the lake and 2 dam liners this has been aggravated by the inconsiderate sand mining along the lake, we, therefore, are working on improving environmental cover by promoting tree plantation cover.
- Imbalance growth rate; happened due to struggling for existence as the strong fish would capture feeds and scare away the weak ones during feeding time. To solve these, TMT would wish to improve to circular cages.
- Mortalities; from the sample data, we realized high mortality records from the cages, we expected these to be as a result of the escape of fingerlings from the cages and struggling of fish during feeding resulting in deaths. We would wish to expand on bigger circular cages for more spacing during feeding though they are quite expensive.
The organization has been able to make use of the amount raised in the various projects that are of benefit to the organization indicated in the projects mentioned above.
- We are still unable to run our poultry incubators because they need 100 percent electricity supply and without which we may incur losses in this project. We currently have 1-day-old chicks sourced from other farms, which is a little expensive.
- Funding remains a key challenge for the implementation of this project as the funds raised have not been sufficient for the successful implementation of the activities.
- We've fully started our fish cages project, unfortunately, we've lost a lot due to wandering fish predators, which have destroyed our cages and allowed most of our fish to escape.
- With our poultry project moving on well, we like to appeal for more funding so that more farmers would benefit from this project.
II. Plans for Next Quarter
- The third and fourth phases of the poultry gift pass on is to take place in the next quarter, whereby more than 50 farmers are going to start poultry agribusinesses.
- More training for the new households on beehives management and timely harvesting and the new poultry farmers in best practices in poultry keeping.
- The loaning process which has to benefit farmers to start poultry farming is in the process and is likely to commence in the next quarter.
- Supporting the beneficiaries on the processing of pure natural honey, packaging, and marketing.
- Install a solar panel at the poultry farm to be able to start another round of incubation if funds allow
- More goats will be passed on to other farmers to increase the placement target.