Conservation Agriculture Grows in Kenya

How are farmers and communities making use of the support made available by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and World Renew? A group of delegates traveled to Kenya this summer to find out. Will Postma, member of Friendship Community Church in North York, Ont., was part of a Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) delegation that traveled to Ithaca, Kenya, to see if the support and resources provided through a government grant were taking root. This CFBG long-term Conservation Agriculture Program is being implemented by World Renew.

Conservation Agriculture programs aim to develop sustainable farming techniques to protect soil from erosion and degradation by implementing practices including the use of groundcovers, crop rotation, and minimal soil disturbance. 

“World Renew is working in Ithaca with the Anglican Development Services (ADS) Mount Kenya program, providing training and sharing real-time, real-life examples of people modifying their farming practices to get a higher yield. What World Renew and ADS are really doing is adding to the strength of the community,” said Postma.

In Kenya, the CFBG delegates met with Jenninah Kabiswa, World Renew Kenya Country Consultant, who introduced them to several farmers. Meeting these farmers answered the primary question for the delegation, affirming that the community in Ithaca has certainly benefited from the workshops and regular field support provided by World Renew. 

Postma has connections to all three partnering organizations: as a member of the CRC, a board member of the CFGB, and executive director for the Canadian Anglican response for emergency relief, refugees, development, and justice. He said he was encouraged by the great collaboration happening in Kenya between local and international agencies. The Conservation Agriculture program also has local government support, critical to the success of a new program.

Through visits with the farmers in Ithaca, it became clear that the new training and support resources were being used.

“Farmers were working together, learning together, encouraging others to adopt key principles of what they learned over the past year about Conservation Agriculture,” reported Postma. 

Even with difficult climate changes such as less rainfall this season, farmers who have implemented conservation techniques have increased yields and can extend their growing season by several months. With the profits of her flourishing crops, one farmer is now able to help support several orphans in a neighboring village. 

About the Author

Krista Dam-Vandekuyt is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Jerseyville, Ontario.

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