Our Work

KENYA: Farmers Learn to Be Stewards of Their Land

Current Project

Project Overview

Soil Conservation Improves Crop Yields, Income and Food Security

Timeline: 2 years

Direct Engagement: 1,400

Community Engagement: 20,000

Anticipated Lives Impacted: 21,400

Total Amount Requested: $70,071

 

In their own words:

“The project has been successful because we have seen our first harvest, and we have sold all the oil and byproducts [seed cake used for dairy meal]. It has uplifted our earnings. I am helping educate my five children with the money.” — Mary Muthoni Karati, farmer who participated in a Planting Faith Ministries project in Embu, Kenya

Context:

Overfarming of land in Bungoma, Kenya,has depleted the soil and led to poor crop yields and food shortages. Many farmers have started small trading businesses on the side, but these are highly competitive and do not produce reliable incomes. Young people are especially challenged due to a lack of economic opportunities, leaving them trapped in a cycle of poverty. Many migrate to cities, but with no skills they end up living in slums and further marginalized.

Need:

Farmers need to understand how to preserve and enrich the soil so they can increase crop yields. Skilled farming will help ensure that youth who have no other opportunities for income can earn a moderate income from farming and become productive members of their community. The church and local residents who support this project can promote the well-being of all community members.

Solution:

This joint program by Planting Faith Ministries and The Vine Foundation will establish a demonstration farm and teach farmers to reduce erosion and improve crop yields. This will result in more income and food security for the farmers, who will teach their family members and neighbors these methods, leading to benefits for many members of the community.

Life Impact

This project benefits at least 21,400 people:

  • 80 people will be educated on better farming practices when they attend a field day
  • 120 people will be empowered by the same learning and will apply what they learned on their own farms
  • 600 family members will be empowered by the same learning and will utilize these practices on their family farms
  • 600 community members will be exposed to the same learning when they visit conservation tillage plots
  • 20,000 community members will benefit by being exposed to the better farming campaign

Project Design

This project by Planting Faith Ministries and The Vine Foundation will demonstrate soil improvement methods and teach farmers in Bungoma Diocese how to apply these methods to their crops. Planting Faith will be responsible for establishing and maintaining a demonstration farm, while The Vine Foundation will educate farmers in four parishes on farming techniques (Netima, Namwesi, Nalondo and Butonge parishes). Planting Faith Ministries will hire an agronomist fluent in Luhya, the local language, and an assistant farm worker. These staff members will attend “Farming God’s Way” soil conservation training by Care of Creation, an independent agricultural nongovernmental organization located at Moffat Bible College, Kijabe, Kenya. “Farming God’s Way” teaches land stewardship through mulching, crop rotation and minimal tilling. The agronomist will implement these practices on a demonstration farm at the Bungoma archbishop’s property, planting crops typical for the area. A control area using traditional farming practices will allow visitors to see the differences side by side.

The Vine Foundation will facilitate the public education campaign called Save Our Soil! An extension agent will
select four reputable Anglican lay leaders from different parishes to start small satellite demonstration farms.
They will receive training in “Farming God’s Way” and will pass on the skills to other farmers.

About eight months into the program, during the second growing season, the demonstration farm will host a field day for 100 farmers (200 over two years of the project) from nearby parishes to learn about conservation tillage. Transportation and meals will be provided. Additional field days will be held every six months. Each participant will receive composted manure and 2 kilograms of hybrid corn seed. Participants will sign contracts requiring them to follow instructions for conservation tillage when using the supplies. Each farmer will receive a written guide and technical assistance from the agronomist or trained lay people, as needed.

Measuring impact: The agronomist will provide regular updates and photos to Planting Faith via smart phone. Planting Faith Ministries’ administration will make quarterly visits to the site. The executive director will visit the farm twice a year. Financial reports will be made monthly. The Vine Foundation will supervise the efforts of the extension agent and the lay leaders. A representative of The Vine Foundation will visit the site at least quarterly.

Project Budget

The Vine Foundation Budget: $33,923

Planting Faith Budget: $28,640

Research and Evaluation: $7,508

Total: $70,071

Risk Analysis

Low: 1, Low/Medium: 2, Medium: 3, Medium/High: 4, High: 5

Concept: Risk Level 1

This project provides a solution to dwindling crop yields and low living standards in Bungoma Diocese. It involves the community and instills ownership over time.

Program Design and Experience: Risk Level 3

Planting Faith Ministries has worked with Kenyan farmers since 2005, and The Vine Foundation has worked in the Bungoma region for a long period of time. However, this is the first time these two organizations are working together.

Leadership: Risk Level 2

The leaders of Planting Faith Ministries and The Vine Foundation have years of experience in leading their organizations. However, the project’s success also depends on new staff members who have not yet been hired.

Financial Control: Risk Level 2

Both The Vine Foundation and Planting Faith Ministries have stable management, independent governance and secure methods for transferring funds. However, neither organization has externally audited financial statements. In addition, the two organizations will be working together on managing the funds for this project, which will require close collaboration on expenditures.

Sustainability: Risk Level 2

Once the two-year crop rotation has been completed on the control plots, the farmers can practice the rotation methods without requiring additional funding. However, replicating the project in other parishes will require additional funding.

External: Risk Level 2

The project depends on typical rainfall levels throughout the two-year period. Drought could affect the project outcomes.

Read Full Research Report as a PDF

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