The Kenya National Farmers Awards, an annual fete that seeks to celebrate the country’s finest in farming and now in its fourth year, is the latest stab by the country at enticing especially women and youth in farming, a constituency traditionally neglected in food production.
Feeding a growing world poses complex challenges for which new technologies can help provide solutions. We share information on improved food production that is balanced with issues related to international trade, certification, animal welfare and health. We also share information on areas such as deforestation.
In Kenya, a solution to counter the menace of fruit flies rampant among small holder farmers is now available. Dubbed the Fruit Fly Mania, this protein bait is made from brewer’s yeast was developed through the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology research, and is being commercially produced for farmers, by Kenya Biologics.
In Kenya 17.3 million people lack access to clean water with water borne diseases like diarrhea and Cholera being the leading cause of death for children under five years. But a group of women have found a low cost method of purifying water, which is now backed by science - embracing seeds from the wonder tree Moringa oleifera.
It is one of a kind university, whose setting under acacia trees in Kenya’s North Eastern area and neighboring Ethiopia makes it ideal for its students. There are no exams or assignments and the students together with their lecturers meet after every three months. Yet this university has been credited with gathering landmark findings that are shaping academic discourses and guiding governments in policy making. Dubbed ‘The University of the Bush,’
Kenya Arid and Semi Arid lands comprise of 70 percent of total country land although they host only about 20 percent of population. These arid and semi arid areas are affected with massive food shortage, water shortage and drought, with up to 5 million people affected every year. Only 5 percent have access to electricity through the national grid. While irrigation could help, diesel and petrol powered pumps are not economically feasible. Solar power pumps, which have been proved to be cost effective in such areas due to low maintenance and operation cost can help.
In Kenya’s semi arid regions grappling with climate change, rural communities are turning their attention to growing the drought tolerant melia volkensii (mukau) tree. This fast maturing hardwood tree dubbed the mahogany of the dry lands, has many uses, and its timber is lucrative and in demand. A hectare of mature melia volkensii trees, can earn a farmer over Kshs3 million (USD $30,000) and harvesting can begin at 10 years in ideal weather conditions.
There are over 500 million smallholder farmers globally, farming plots of land less than 2 ha in area. Many are struggling to make a living from farming and are looking for ways to increase productivity. Research shows that small farm productivity can be doubled by irrigation. However, many smallholder farmers struggle to irrigate their land. The solution: a sustainable method of irrigation which decouples volumes of irrigation water from volumes of gasoline or diesel fuel consumed - the SF1 solar pump from Futurepump.
A farmer in Kenya is reaping massive benefits from solar-enhanced dairy-farming. In order to boost production, Willy Kirwa, a dairy farmer located in Eldoret (Western region of Kenya in the Rift Valley) invested $40,000 USD in a modern state-of-the art solar power system on his 50-acre farm to help in lighting and processing of milk.
Over 75 per cent of Kenya’s population, with the majority concentrated in the rural areas, rely on agriculture not just for food but as a source of income. Small holder farmers, who form the bulk of the food producers have been grappling with a myriad of challenges, key among them pests and diseases. But in the wake of these isues that have threatened food production and ultimately fanning the hunger cycle, Kenya is counting on a model that is giving farmers more personalized attention to tame these diseases - dubbed 'plant clinics',
In late 2004, Kisumu bay, Lake Victoria, was covered in a blue-green hue. The algal bloom - a proliferation of cyanobacteria – demarcated an area of low oxygen and eventually decomposing algae, causing fish to suffocate or flee and contaminating the drinking water- a dead zone. Adapt-N, a software programme developed by researchers at Cornell University seeks to solve this problem.