VISIT TO SORGHUM FIELD DAY IN MWINGI CENTRAL DISTRICT BY AFRICA HARVEST BIOTECH FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL
On 14th February 2013, the Australian High Commission travelled with Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International staff to Kathamba Ngii Village, in Mwingi Central District, for a sorghum field day at Anna Muli Ndoo’s farm. The field day was organised as part of the ‘Enhancing food security and livelihoods through an improved sorghum value chain in Kenya’ project. The project, funded by AusAID through the Australia-Africa Community Grants Scheme (AACGS), began in June 2012 with implementation activities for the project well underway.
The project targets 1000 direct beneficiaries (but benefits approximately 6000 people indirectly) who are small scale rural sorghum farmers based in three locations: Waita, Mwambui and Kairungu. The project sites are within the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya where food security is a major challenge. The project assists beneficiaries by providing enhanced resilient sorghum to farmers, which improves household food security. Beneficiaries will also be linked to commercial markets to sell surplus sorghum grain which will increase household incomes.
The field day was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture Mwingi Central and the Mwingi District Steering Group, to showcase sorghum related technologies and products. Further information was available from the various stands set up at the farm by the Ministry and other farmers involved in sorghum planting.
One beneficiary of the project is Anna Muli Ndoo, who owns the farm which we visited. Anna is 65 years old and has two grandchildren to support, so farming is crucial for her, and her grandchildren’s livelihood. Before the project, she was planting sorghum using a different variety of seeds. However using the improved strain of seeds provided to the farmers and the correct farming methods taught by the project team, she has seen a tremendous increase in her yields. She uses about half of the yields for her consumption while she sells the rest for income. She is then able to buy maize, a staple food in eastern Kenya, which does not grow well in the dry climate in Mwingi.
About a quarter of an acre of her land is planted with sorghum, which she intercrops with green grams. This then supplements her diet and complements her farming. She said that she hopes the buyer of her latest yield of sorghum will buy it at a premium price, which will boost her income and livelihood.
The District Officer in charge of Waita Division, Ms. Veronica Naliaka, who was the master of ceremony at the field day urged farmers to cease from planting maize as it is not growing well in the region and this was evident from the dried up maize at the owner’s farm. The officer urged the farmers to take up sorghum planting as this would increase their yield and boost their incomes.
The banner used as part of the communications strategy for Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International during the sorghum field day in Kathamba Ngii Village, Mwingi Central District
An extension officer from the Ministry of Agriculture educates local farmers on planting methods for the improved strain of sorghum seeds
Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International staff and community mobilizers give a speech during the field day ceremony