In central Kenya, most farming families have only half an acre of land on which they must produce enough food to eat year-round.
Paul Kamau has half an acre. On it, he tries to grow enough to feed five children, his wife, and himself.
Kamau and his family live in the Kiganjo community, where most families are dependent on agriculture and where the increasing population has forced families to farm on smaller areas of land.
Over the years, poor farming methods have led to unhealthy soil. Other changes such as distorted seasons and reduced rainfall have contributed to years of suffering for many families.
Like Kamau, many families in Kiganjo were barely producing enough food to last their family for one month. Relying on commercial food was becoming expensive and drained the little bit of money they had.
To help this hurting community, World Renew began working with its local partner, Anglican Development Services Mount Kenya, to teach local farmers about new farming techniques. Through conservation agriculture, the families in the Kiganjo community could increase their crop production on their same small pieces of land.
Eager for change, Kamau participated in World Renew’s training. For 10 days, he learned new methods to prevent soil erosion and retain moisture.
By using mulch, he would be able to prevent weeds from growing and repel some of the bugs. Using natural techniques would help Kamau establish healthier soil and reduce the cost of producing food.
In a four-month span, World Renew and its local partner trained 182 farmers.
To keep the momentum going in his community, Kamau volunteered to help other farmers learn. His land served as a training ground for 16 additional people from his village.
To test what he had learned, Kamau used the new techniques to plant maize and beans on one-eighth of his land. When it came time to harvest, Kamau had doubled his crop production even though he only used this small piece of land. He was amazed.
More amazed were Kamau’s neighbors. After seeing his success, they started preparing their land in the same way. Kamau has now prepared all of his land for crops and anticipates enough food to last his family until the next harvest.