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Kenyan farmers appreciate the importance of rain and a good water supply.  That is the reason for SGG's first project in Busia being the promotion of moneymaker pumps to allow crop irrigation during the dry months.  However, there is usually much less appreciation of the need to maintain soil fertility.  SGG encourages farmers to keep livestock and thereby have a source of manure, but very few farms have sufficient for the whole farm.  Thus we encourage composting.  This requires considerable physical labour, but greatly improved yields make this well worthwhile




[1] This couple planted two banana suckers at the same time.  There was sufficient manure-compost only for the one between them, and not for the one in front of the wife.  Need one say more about the importance of compost? 


[2]  The compost heap on COSDEP's demonstration farm in Kiambu suggests how much compost is needed for intensive all-year-round crop production.  It is much easier to produce good compost if the farmer has dairy cows.


[3] This multistorey garden has more than 20 sukumawiki plants growing in one old maize sack. This type of intensive production is only possible if there is much compost available.


[4] well composted crops in Wells4Zoe's organic garden near Mzuzu, Malawi. The gardener here is Benedicto Banda, who is over 6 feet tall, so note the height of the maize to the right and the flourishing bananas on the left. Benedict is holding a young Tephrosia vogelii plant, which is being used here as a fertiliser.  In 2017 SGG trained Wells4Zoe staff on how to use Tephrosia as a natural pesticide. In 2019 SGG plans to promote organic gardening in Malawi. 



In 2014 Mohamed Wandera of Matayos leased a part of his farm so that a demonstration plot could be established. The purpose of this plot was to experiment with new techniques & crops and promote horticultural innovation within the Matayos community.  It was also the intention to plant high-value and nutritional crops which could be sold in the local market to give a significant income to those cultivating the plot.  Here [see top left] Mohamed and Philp Namulundu are clearing away a portion of land covered with an old cassava  crop. When clearance was completed  a bare patch of ground with infertile gritty soil was exposed.  In 2014 after clearance the land was fenced and the ground given an application of manure/compost.


To obtain good income from this land Mohamed concentrated on planting vegetables and practising agroforestry.  Here [see middle left] he is standing between beds of brassicas close to some young Moringa oleifera trees in late 2015.


At first this plot was cultivated as a single small field, but it was gradually converted into a series of double-dug raised beds [see lower left].  These beds are richer in organic matter, and the increased aeration allows for better root penetration of young plants - so yields are significantly higher.  This photo also shows bananas which have been planted in the lower part of the plot to form the start of an orchard.


By 2017 those cultivating on the Demonstration Plot began to experiment with permaculture techniques and also new crops.  One such innovation was growing bambara nuts [Vigna subterranea], as seen below.  Bambara nuts have a high protein content, and are much more tolerant of drought and poor soil conditions than the more common peanuts.  Behind Phaustine Ogola there are gourds, another relatively new crop. Next to him there is a Moringa tree after being well-pruned . 


This is the Demonstration Plot in late 2018 [see left].  At that time there were beds of green onions, and sukumawiki in various stages of cultivation.  Note also the water tank in the background.  This will enable workers on the plot to harvest 3 times annually and also not be vulnerable to the irregular and unreliable rainfall.  There are now a variety of trees growing on the the plot.  These include moringa, bananas, pawpaws, citrus fruits, recently planted mangos as well as Grevillea planted along the borders of the plot.  Outside the Demonstration Plot on Mohamed's farm there are several mature jackfruits. 

By the end of 2018 all the available land in the Demonstration Plot was intensively cultivated.  Our intention for 2019 is to extend this project by developing similar plots and kitchen gardens elsewhere.

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