Archive for August 25th, 2010

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.

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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.