ALIN Awarded 2011 Access to Learning Award by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

James Nguo, ALIN Regional Director, rejoices after the announcement in San Juan, Puerto Rico by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo: © BMGF

Watch video here:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Farm training - The way to go

Farming is best learnt by doing it. Traditionally farming was an art that was passed from one generation to another. Farming training could start at child early age where the student farmer could learn from elderly people so that when he/she grow old she can take the next step of establishing his/her own farming enterprises for substance farming or barter trade.
According to the farmers this on farm training method enabled the student farmers to familiarize with farming techniques as he/she grows. The Farmers from Kyuso District of Kitui county of Kenya can remember when the Farmers Field School existed. These schools were dubbed School without walls and they say that even the farm yield was high as compared to today’s.
The FFS training could takes into account the trainee’s needs, difficulties and plans. It could not last long and knowledge is quickly gained. The farmers had opportunity of seeing how things are done since the training took place in field

According to elderly farmers this has changed drastically, since the introduction of field/agricultural extension officer it has become hard for the farmers to conceptualize the extension officer’ training due to the techniques used. They added that these officer goes to school learn broad agriculture and numerous technique. They bring all this techniques to them and expect them to understand.
One of the issue that arise is that this learned extension officer are young and therefore don’t talk in a language that they can understand. These officers come with flip charts, pens, cameras which sometime divert the farmers’ attention to training.
The farmers feel that they would rather have a on farm training once a month than numerous under roof/shade. Kyuso Maarifa centre which is one of the ALIN centre disseminate the information to the community in a format suitable to the group. We use on farm training, video and Farmer-Farmer extension approach. The photo above show Kyuso Maarifa Centre trying to understand the causes of Kale drying even after watering with Kakoongo Dam Group.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sisal Growing for Soil Erosion prevention

Sisal is a tough plant. It can thrive in drought conditions and in rough land with very little nutrition. Kyuso district of Kitui county of Kenya is one of the district in Kenya which bear the above qualities. Farmers here are are not aware of more importance of Sisal but recently learnt that It helps to stop soil erosion and captures moisture from the atmosphere. It can be planted any time of the year and harvested throughout the year. It even survives fire.

 Mr. Mwengi Musili started growing sisal in his 13 acres land, when he learnt that sisal could control erosion. he had been challenged by erosion in his farm for a very long time since he bought the piece of land as abandoned land and he had to reclaim it. He decided to use sisal for he has never heard in history of a drought that has ever killed the sisal plant and there fore its a drought resistant crop.

He plants the sisal along the terraces and he sisal has prevented erosion by 80%.  "The rill erosion that existed are now filled and am now left with three gullies that are disturbing me seriously and am looking at ways of curbing this" Said Mr Mwengi

Sisal is naturally safe and environmental friendly . It has very few disease which in most cases doesn't need any pesticide. It can be inter-cropped with other crops and even protect the other crops from fire attack..