|Mutuku showing his current flock of goats which he plans to expand.© ADSE 2019.|
Many Australian farmers will recognise this scenario. You see promising signs of rain, the start of a good growing season. So you plant out your seed, hoping for a bumper harvest. But two months later you are looking at a crop that has died before maturing. The rains, so full of promise, have stopped almost as soon as they had started, and now you have nothing to show for your hard work or your investment in the seed.
And for Kenyan farmers living in marginal agricultural areas southeast of the capital, Nairobi, this sadly common scenario has even more dire consequences. Since, for them, a failed crop means you have nothing for your children to eat, let along any produce to sell so that you can pay their school fees.
This is what life was often like for farmers in Kyua and Kiangini locations in the Kenyan districts of Machakos and Makueni. Life, that is, before ABM’s partner, Anglican Development Services, Eastern (ADSE), came on the scene.
That’s why we want to tell you about Mutuku.
Joness Mutuku and his wife Naumi are blessed with a family of six children and even some grandchildren. The family live in Kyua in Machakos County. Until four years ago, Mutuku had to leave his family behind while he sought casual work opportunities in the town, work which was not sufficient to sustain his family. He then decided to return home and joined Mwaamuka-ata* self-help group. Two years ago, with the help of ADSE, Mutuku’s group joined with other local self-help groups to form a much bigger group called Kyumbuke Community- based Organisation (CBO). He can now access training in a variety of farming techniques.
“This has transformed my life!” says Mutuku. “When I came back from trying to get work in town, I wanted to engage in farming but I did not have much knowledge on how best to go about it.”
“In fact, it has enabled me to realise my dream of getting a good income from my farm – enough to cater for my family’s needs. I’ve already started planting the drought tolerant crops, and especially the green grams (mung beans), cow peas also grasses which do well even with minimal rainfall. I have already started preparing zai pits for water conservation to give me a better harvest even when rains are minimal. My flock of goats is also growing since I learned on how to take care of my animals better and I was so happy to receive a galla goat to upgrade my stock.”
Mutuku also appreciates learning how to do water harvesting which has previously been difficult. After being taught the technique, he has excavated a shallow well at his farm to get water for domestic use and also to plant vegetables for his family to eat, selling the surplus.
Mutuku and his group have even made their own grass bailer for more effective animal feeding. They can sell the extra bales which earn them a better price compared to selling unbaled grass.
“I am happy because I will be able to plant more grass and store it in bales and buy a dairy cow which I will be able to sustain now. Surely, I am going far, and I thank God for ADSE and ABM. It is an eye opener to all of us and especially those who are ready to put into practice what we learn”, says Mutuku.
This year we aim to:
» In 2020 the Sustainable Livelihoods Program needs $39,490 (tax-deductible)
Please give generously to this project to help farmers like Mutuku and his family to move from the uncertainty of hunger and poverty to full food security.
February 2020 - The work of ABM’s partner, Anglican Development Services, Eastern (ADSE) in the semi-arid areas of Kenya is making a real impact on the lives of farmers and their families. Farmers such as 30 year old Caleb, just starting out, and 71 year old Joseph Kituku, who has struggled with farming all his life, tell their stories. Read more
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| This project receives partial funding
from the Australian Government.
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