Archive for August, 2010

47 KENYANS ARE GEARING UP FOR TERRA MADRE 2010, WHERE ISSUES ON FOOD WILL BE THE ONLY AGENDA

The 4th event of this biannual world meeting of  food communities is organised by Slow Food (since 2004) and brings together over 5,000 representatives of small scale farmers, producers, cooks, educators, youth and activists from 160 countries to collaboratively work together on improving our food system.

Terra Madre,(Mother Earth) will be held   October 21-25,2010 together with Salone del Gusto (Ark of Taste) in Turin italy. These two biennial events, though different in character, have by now become two inseparable and interconnected halves, in constant dialog with each other.

Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre offers perhaps the only place in the world where artisan producers, academics and chefs, wine connoisseurs and novice food lovers  come together in a spirit of exchange and friendship.

47 Kenyans, led by Samuel Muhunyu, are putting final touches to their preparations to participate in Terra Madre 2010 and the team includes  Slow Food members and Terra Madre food communities. They hail  from different parts of Kenya: Nairobi,Kiambu, kwale, Machakos, Makueni, Meru,Busia, Kitale, Bungoma, west pokot,Thika, Nakuru, Kisumu, Marsabet  etc and they include farmers,producers,chefs, academics, youth, students,  and journalists. They will be attending the Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto event from the 20th -25th October, 2010 to  showcase their indigenous products, diverse cultures,interact and share with  other food communities on issues related to food and more. Not only is Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre a tasty and satisfying experience, it also provides an educational exploration and deeper engagement with  food production process.

These two aspects of the fair meet with the Earth workshops, Taste Workshops and Theatres of Taste. Producers, experts and great chefs guide the visitors in an experience that speaks to the senses as well as to the mind. This year’s program of the Salone is a sophisticated blend of pleasure and awareness, two cornerstones in the history of the Slow Food association: sought-after tastings of the highest quality, the presence of legendary personalities, spaces dedicated to the Terra Madre food communities and the presidia and above all, the integrity of the principles of good, clean and fair food.
Food products that are at risk of extinction or rarely utilized in our cuisines and are within the  international Presidia will be showcased, including Kenyan products  Stinging Nettle from Utugi Self Help Group  and Lare traditional Pumpkin from Nganoini Self Help Group.  As part of the Slow Food movement’s work on food waste, Salone del Gusto will be hosting its first Dinner of Leftovers. When the doors of the Salone 2010 close on Monday, October 25, a group of chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants as well as humble osterias, will use all the creativity and technical know-how at their disposal to create a meal using the ingredients leftovers from the kitchens of the Theatres of Taste and the Taste Workshops, as well as products from the Italian and international Presidia and the Earth Markets that cannot be kept or brought back home.

The international Presidia projects aim to protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional food processing methods and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties.

To participate in forums discussing various Earth Workshops click on the following link; <http://www.terramadre.org/pagine/incontri/welcome.lasso?id=C2744B8813d3a172DBrKX4144CA2&amp;ln=en>

Kenyans follow closing ceremony proceedings

Kenyans participate in earth workshop

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CAMPAIGN AGAINST MALARIA IN BARINGO.

Project on “PROTECT 1100 PEOPLE ON KOKWA ISLAND FROM MALARIA  IN KENYA”

Malaria, together with HIV/AIDS and TB, is one of the major public health challenges undermining development in the poorest countries in the world. Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds. Many children who survive an episode of severe malaria may suffer from learning impairments or brain damage. Pregnant women and their unborn children are also particularly vulnerable to malaria, which is a major cause of perinatal mortality, low birth weight and maternal anaemia http://endpoverty2015.org/goals/combat-hiv-aids?gclid=CNPXnfWc3qMCFYiX2AodOzK2Ag
Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Kenya .

  • 25 million out of a population of 34 million Kenyans are at risk of malaria.
  • It accounts for 30-50% of all outpatient attendance and 20% of all admissions to health facilities.
  • An estimated 170 million working days are lost to the disease each year (MOH 2001).
  • Malaria is also estimated to cause 20% of all deaths in children under five (MOH 2006).
  • The most vulnerable group to malaria infections are pregnant women and children under 5 years of age

http://www.nmcp.or.ke/section.asp?ID=4

Malaria is the major health threat facing 1100 inhabitants of Kokwa Island of Lake Baringo in Kenya  accounting for 54% clinic attendance  and leading to high mortality rate and decline in community productivity. The island’s remoteness; poor communication; limited information and inadequate medication further complicate the situation. Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) which is involved in community development activities on the island has embarked on project “protect 1100 people on kokwa island from Malaria”. The project will ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of diseases at Kokwa dispensary and equip community members with disease prevention materials and knowledge tapping on both scientific and local knowledge. For details and/or to donate to this project visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-1100-people-on-kokwa-island-from-malaria/

A WATER AND SANITATION PROGRAMME USING ROPE AND WASHER AT KIHOTO SHG

The rope and washer pump is a key part of the water and sanitation programme amongst the community members of Kihoto self Help group and its environs. Although health benefits could not be attributed to its provision directly, the users of the rope and washer pump perceived it as being responsible for the health benefits they have received. The rope and washer pump is a low-cost hand pump capable of pumping water from up to 25 meters below ground. It has been in used in various forms all over the world for many years. The pump is made locally. Operation and maintenance for the pumps is low in comparison with other pumps and due to the simple design it can be done by the users themselves. The rope and washer saves the users a considerable amount of time which was used for productive activities such as farming, selling produce and small scale irrigation.

The source of income for the majority of families is from mixed farming, with the main crops being potatoes and maize. All families have small plots of land which vary in size from 1 to 5 ares. Therefore the water obtained has recently been used by the community for irrigation and the livestock which has highly contribute to high crop yields and proper animal husbandry. Kihoto SHG members has recommended the efforts nade saying these has reduced cases of waterborne diseases, malnutrition, skin diseases and further increased concentration of pupils especially the girl child in their education. One of the teachers among the group said that the students are currently able to finish their assignments on time and thereby improve there performance. Most families share their well with at least one of their neighbours meaning that the benefits of the rope and washer pumps have reached many more families than those directly involved in the project.

CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE

(Conserving resources below and above the ground)

Conservation agriculture (CA) offers a powerful option for meeting future food demands while also contributing to sustainable agriculture and rural development. NECOFA Kenya as a leading organization that has been promoting ecological farming in the region has sought to provide farmers with skills and knowledge to enable farmers to achieve acceptable profits from high and sustained crop production levels while, at the same time, conserving resources and protecting the environment.

Farmers need to really understand the concept of CA and the relevant positive impacts on improving their farm land and reduction of inputs and labour unlike the conventional farming. CA methods has proved to improve the efficiency of input, increase farm income, improve or sustain crop yields, and protect and revitalize soil, biodiversity and the natural resource base. CA methods enhance natural biological processes above and below the ground by reducing interventions such as mechanical soil tillage to an absolute minimum.

In collaboration with Baraka Agricultural college, Necofa team has emphasized on the three interlinked principles that can be applied in a variety of combinations to meet the needs to sustainable use of natural resource and supply of food products among small scale poor farmers. The principles include:

1. Minimum Soil Disturbance (Disturb the soil as little as possible)

2. Permanent soil cover (Keep the soil covered as much as possible)

3. Crop rotation (Mix and rotate)

Conservation agriculture is more than a zero-tillage-based cropping system. Farmers following the CA principles use low-cost tools and equipment and traditional crop varieties. The two principles i.e. the permanent soil cover and crop rotation is applied to suppress the weeds instead of farmers use of herbicides which increase chemical composition that have negative health implications.

For more information on Conservation Agriculture Visit  Conservation Agriculture on Wikipedia

NECOFA TEAM VISIT ELDUME WOMEN GROUP IN MARIGAT DISTRICT

During the visit, NECOFA team donated one knapsack sprayer and five litre of Hyax (organic fertilizer).These was necessary because the resultant crop failure has been due to low soil fertility and increased acidity of the soil. A demonstration was carried out on the use of the knapsack sprayer by spraying hyax fertilizer on the maize field.

During the same visit, the group was also trained on the treatment and enrichment of Boma compost i.e. the production of compost manure. Members were advised to construct a shade and heap the boma compost to avoid loss of nutrients through leaching and evaporation and ensure proper decomposition. They were also advised on ways of enriching the manure e.g. adding of ash, green materials and use of mijingu-a natural phosphate fertilizer.

The group members shared their gratitude to the supportive and initiatives carried out by NECOFA staff, as they gained hands on skills.

ORGANIC FARMING OF STEVIA PLANT

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Organic farmers and trainers from NECOFA in particular promote the establishment of stevia plant as an ideal additional crop to their yield. These is in relation to its increase in production on organic soils.

Though non toxic, stevia plants have been found to have insect-repelling tendencies.  Their very natural sweetness, in fact, may be a kind of natural defense mechanism against aphids and other bugs that find it not to their taste.  Perhaps that’s why crop-devouring grasshoppers have been reported to bypass stevia under cultivation. Therefore stevia is a good crop to promote resilience from pest infestation and a short term crop to strengthen climate change adaptation to mitigate its adverse impacts in agriculture.

What is Stevia?

Stevia plant, scientifically known as Stevia rebaudiana and locally called sweet leaf, sugar leaf is widely grown for its sweet leaves and medical value. With its extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Medical research has also shown possible benefits of stevia in treating obesity and high blood pressure. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.  Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance; therefore, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
We sell Powder,seedlings and cuttings, from our Molo branch….
If you reside in Nairobi or nearby You can buy stevia green powder or seedlings from: MR. Macharia -0727953867.
For more information do not hesitate to call our office: 0715639223.