drought

Mulching Means More Maize

Salome spends a lot less time on farm work because the mulching she does suppresses weeds and frees her from hoeing, a task that used to consume most of her time.  

Like most farmers in this dry region of Kenya, Salome’s maize yields were increasingly disappointing until she tried a number of techniques aimed at building soil fertility and retaining moisture.  This harvest, Salome’s production tripled in spite of a lack of rain.  She had improved her soil with such conservation agriculture practices as minimum tillage, applying manure as fertilizer, crop rotation, agroforestry, and using drought-tolerate varieties. But, for Salome, the technique she most appreciates is mulching. With less overall work, her harvest increased from one to four 220-pound bags of maize in the same small plot.

She and other farmers have also started practicing better post-harvest grain handling and storage, including drying maize on tarps in the sun to prevent the poisonous fungus aflatoxin. Many are storing their grain now in hermetically sealed bags that prevent moisture and pests without chemicals. Higher yields and reduced post-harvest losses mean more overall food for their families, more to sell, and more to plant the following year.

Participant farmers are also planting trees to produce fruit, fuel, wood, shade, and mulching materials. All these and other improved practices are taught at the program’s two hands-on Farmer Field Schools and disseminated through their communities by trained facilitators. When they see the great results that conservation farming yields, area farmers go on to put their new knowledge to work on their own farms.

Kenya Tigania encompasses 7 Communities, 200 Households, 1,000 Individuals
Led by World Renew and local partner ADS - Mt Kenya

09/14/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Community Pools Resources to Overcome Drought

Once community members in FRB’s Kenya Magarini program realized they had the resources at hand to overcome food insecurity despite their challenges, including a regional drought, they poured themselves into making positive change happen. The inspiration came from a hands-on Participatory Rural Assessment (PRA) process that helped them analyze their challenges, identify solutions and create a community action plan to guide their development.  

“If it hadn’t been for this program and the PRA, we would not be farming as a group and we could not know the benefits of coming together as a community,” says Saidi, a trained community resource person.

He tells how they started with two Farmer Field Schools with demo farms. The first planting season was challenging because of the drought. They only planted a few crops -- just enough to establish a kitchen garden for the farmers to learn about crop diversification as a way to reduce their risks of crop failure. But when they also tried planting on their individual farms, the farmers harvested little or nothing due to the drought.

That’s when the field school members decided to join forces to plant a community garden. A member loaned them two acres of land that had adequate water for irrigation so they could produce vegetables for income and family consumption. They received a loan from their community-based savings and loan association to purchase insecticides and, with additional capital from members, they bought seeds.

"Member families had access to nutritious vegetables that they could either buy or receive on credit,” says Chrispine, a farmer in the program. At times members even received free produce to motivate them to work in the garden.

Saidi reports that they made a total of $773 from the sale of the second harvest, and $360 from the third. That harvest was smaller because of some challenges the group faced with the farm owner, but they are now clearing and preparing a different plot for their fourth planting season.

The community is buying PVC pipe and a water pump for irrigation, and bricks to construct a shallow well for easier access to water. They also have money in their account for fuel for the water pump, land preparation and farm inputs.

“The challenges didn’t stop us from doing what we love,” says Saidi. “We are really grateful.”

Kenya Magarini encompasses 10 communities, 1,842 households and 4,836 individuals

Led by World Renew and local partner ADS Pwani

06/01/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Cambodia, a family’s rice field flourishes despite drought

Bunthoeun, 45, his wife and their four children had a successful rice harvest in spite of last year’s drought because of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) he’d learned through FRB’s Cambodia-South program.

He also applied appropriate farming and poultry-raising techniques he’d mastered at the program’s hands-on Farmer Field School (FFS). The various new methods allowed him to provide diverse and nutritious food for his family, and he even had some surplus rice, produce and chickens to sell at the local market. With his newly acquired capital, he has been able to expand his rice field. 

04/08/2015 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Indigenous communities in Mexico work to become self sustaining

In spite of the devastating loss of incomes due to coffee rust and severe drought in the region, hardworking participants in the seven communities of FRB’s Mexico-Chiapas program are managing to produce food for home consumption and sale for income. The program has supplied families with 750-liter water tanks in order to collect rooftop water whenever it does rain.

Doña Angélica said the first rains this year were few and sparse but she was able to fill her tank easily. Afterward, there was a period of 20 days without rain but, she said with joy,

10/07/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Despite drought & severe food shortages, FRB programs are alleviating the need to migrate

By Laurie Kaniarz, FRB Staff

If you are a Foods Resource Bank (FRB) volunteer, supporter, friend, or staff, you are part of a grassroots movement that is helping people resist migration to cities or other countries to look for work to sustain their families back home. Our focus on agricultural development for small-holder farmers helps them find and practice real solutions to challenges like

09/15/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Kenya, farmers report results from conservation farming, irrigation and animals

In the semi-arid Ndeiya region of Kenya, FRB's food security program focuses on resilience and coping with recurrent drought through alternatives such as conservation agriculture and raising small "pass on the gift" animals - rabbits, chickens, goats -- for protein or to sell for income. Participants are female-headed and orphan-headed households, landless people, internally displaced persons, children, and people living with HIV. On-site farmer trainings and exchange visits promote no-till farming, improving soil fertility and water retention with manure and crop residues, and recycling household water for watering vegetables.

Grace N., a farmer who'd had to resort to low-paying, menial work in an effort to support her family, is back to farming and has benefited from the loan of a dairy goat and improved, indigenous chicks

04/11/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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