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High Iron beans thriving well under Conservation Agriculture in Tigania West - Meru County

“I have never harvested beans like I harvested last season,” she commented “and I have never added fertilizer or manure to the soil when planting beans. In the beginning, I thought that this new way of farming was just a hoax. But I was really amazed by how the plants were of good vigour. 

Madam Tabitha was introduced to CA in the month of March 2021 by Lucy Kaari an FSC in Makandi. Tabitha is a leader in the Makandi CBO. She was trained by PAFID FO under the FtMA program. Farm to Market Alliance a project led by World Food Programme (WFP) has been operational now for 3 years. FtMA uses the Farmer Service Centre model to reach the grassroots farmer. Participatory Approaches for Integrated Development (PAFID) and implementer of FtMA together with Cereal Growers Association (CGA), have been championing Conservation Agriculture (CA) which is a climate-smart practice of farming. M

Before PAFID’s intervention, she used to plough her land using a disc plough. It was after undergoing CA technical training that she was able to convert her 6 acres of farmland into mechanized rip lines. Conversely, the majority of farmers in Makandi were reluctant of practicing CA simply because it was a new technique hence opted for a-wait-and-see. However, Madam Tabitha decided to convert her farms to CA which according to her it was a major risk that she never regrets taking.

Luckily, due to her commitment and persistence, she was able to harvest a bountiful harvest despite the low rainfall received in Mbeu Ward. “My neighbours thought I harvested because I used to irrigate my farm,’’ she said. She denied the statement and attributed her bounty harvest to CA. In one of her farms, she tried all the 3 principles of CA i.e., minimum soil disturbance, crop rotation and residue retention.

“Because of the deep depth (30cm) the rip lines were able to collect water and acted as water reservoirs inside the farm,” she commented. She also added that the residue retention was able to also retain the water which helped in the water conservation.

“I have never harvested beans like I harvested last season,” she commented “and I have never added fertilizer or manure to the soil when planting beans. In the beginning, I thought that this new way of farming was just a hoax. But I was really amazed by how the plants were of good vigour. 

In her beans demo farm (where she planted High Iron Beans (HIB) – Nyota, Angaza, Faida) it was fully supported by CIAT in collaboration with KALRO where they provided the seeds while PAFID ensured that the demo was established adhering to CA techniques.

 

Mr. Peter (Bayer) during field monitoring of HIB pod filling stage.

Yara Power fertilizer was used as basal fertilizer while Yara Winner was applied as a top–dressing fertilizer. The purpose of the demo was to introduce HIB to the farmers and also determine which varieties do well in Mbeu ward.

Furthermore, Miss Kamenzu had a section of her farm under maize (Pan 3M-01) and another under Rose coco beans. On these plots, she applied DAP and CAN fertilizers from Yara and CPP from Elgon Kenya. 

She managed to host a field day and MSP promotion, where 213 farmers were trained on various techniques. and out of that 2-acres were ripped and 25 acres were aggregated. The purpose of the field day was to promote and help farmers appreciate CA and Agri- nutrition more so the HIB. The demo produced as follows; Angaza (73 Kgs), Faida (39 Kgs) while Nyota (27Kgs)

 

 Mr. Michael Waweru (WFP) during field monitoring the bean farm maturity stage

 

WAY FORWARD:

Since she had converted 100% (6 acres) of her farmland to CA, she committed to continue practicing CA in the subsequent seasons while at the same time convert more farmers around her so as to form a CA village around her.  

 

 

Madam Tabitha (in red skirt) explaining to farmers about CA concept and HIB during farmer Field Day.

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