The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-funded soil health project dubbed Integrated Soil Fertility (ISFM) was implemented from 2011 to 2014 for phase one, and 2015 to 2018 for phase two.
The project aimed to improve household food and nutrition and incomes through improvement of soils. It also emphasized sound crop husbandry practices, use of organic inputs, and judicious use of water and chemical inputs. In other words, sustainable farming methods were promoted to smallholder farmers in western Kenya, majority of whom were women, followed by youth. The target number of smallholder farmers to be reached was 30, 000, a number that was exceeded by 5,000 at the end of the 3 years of the project. The project integrated dietary diversity information in all activities. Dietary diversity determines what nutrients family members, including children, will be receiving. Soybean harvest were good and now ROA staff taught farmers on how to integrate soya into their diets, and how to make food products to take to the market. Youth and women took up agroprocessing of the soybeans.
A core activity was to set up 155 good sized demonstration plots in six clusters in the two counties of Kakamega and Vihiga (Butere, Lurambi, Emuhaya, Vihiga, Sabatia and Hamisi sub counties) on land availed by farmers. The project organized field days at these sites so farmers could compare various combinations of crops and fertilizers. ROA staff also used these plots to train farmers in integrated soil fertility management technologies such as proper soil preparation, using the right seeds, using rhizobium inoculant, and fertilizer applications. Farmers were trained on quality seed selection, and the project helped them buy inputs in bulk and on time. Farmers were shown how their soils could be improved by planting soybeans. Apart from soybeans, the project also targeted various other crops: climbing beans (a new crop in this area), bush beans, water efficient maize, improved varieties of bananas, and indigenous vegetables, which ROA has promoted in the area for more than 20 years.
As a result, the soils have improved and the farmers have increased their yields of various crops. Farmers who have gone beyond demonstration and adopted the technologies have seen their legumes (soybeans, climbing beans and bush beans) yields rise from 0.65 to 1 t/ha, and their maize yields from under 2 to nearly 5 t/ha. They can now earn more, save more, and invest in quality inputs. The groups are more cohesive, and they purchase inputs collectively. The project benefited 40 youthful farmers who had been trained on ROA’s extension approaches and expanded to train 310 more farmers as trainers (ToTs). The project targeted to reach 30,000 farmers, but ROA exceeded this number by 5,000 farmers. Out of those reached, 11,760 (33.9%) fully adopted the recommended technologies and are practicing to date.
Phase two of the project aimed to strengthen the capacities of smallholder farmers to use ISFM technologies. Other objectives included: strengthening farmer organizations (FO) capacities in institutional, managerial and technical aspects; linking farmers to input/output markets and increasing value addition in food usage. ROA used the same approaches as in phase one (demonstrations and field days) as they proved to be effective. Phase two reached 20,000 more farmers than in phase one, and 7,908 (40%) fully adopted the promoted technologies. The project was set-up in three additional clusters to the six in phase one, (Mumias, Navakholo, and Luanda sub-counties), to make nine total clusters.
An impact assessment in the last year of the project revealed that 70% of the project beneficiaries were women, and 12% youth farmers. The most sought service by farmers was agricultural extension: 85% by women and 71% by men. Adoption levels of ISFM technologies had markedly increased, for example, organic manure use was 303 Kg/ha at baseline and after the project, 543 Kg/ha. Additionally, farmers were planting certified maize seed (Tego W1101 hybrid) and many women (81%) were planting soybean. Average yields had improved from baseline, 4.3 t/ha for maize and 1 t/ha for soybean. 18% of farmers had successfully accessed external markets for maize and a larger number sold locally. An impressive 55% of targeted farmers had adopted post-harvest management by using hermetic bags to store their grain chemical-free.
Rural Outreach Africa (ROA) partnered with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) to promote Drought TEGO™ maize hybrids, a water efficient maize variety in the four counties of western Kenya: Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma.
ROA is a partner in the implementation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-funded Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project, in Kakamega, Vihiga and Nandi counties of Western Kenya.
A pilot research project looking at human-centred design approaches in addressing the labor burden of ageing smallholder farmers in Kenya by improving the design of farming tools.
The Food Security and Nutrition Improvement intervention in Western Kenya came at a time when the country was reportedly 400,000 MT in deficit on the main staple crop. This resulted from the fact that 4 million people were in dire need of food aid after the country was hit by its worst drought in 37 years and was expected to worsen.
The project mainly concentrated on Corchorus olitorus (Jews-mallow) Crotaloria brevidens (Sun hemp), Gynadropsis gyanandra (black nightshade), Amaranths ssp (amaranths) and Vigna ungiculata (Cowpeas). An impact assessment in the last year of the project revealed that 70% of the project beneficiaries were women, and 12% youth farmers.
The project was initiated in 1998 with the generous support from the Headley Trust, UK ( one of the Lord Sainsbury’s Trusts) and it envisaged to ensure that: community members from Butere/ Mumias district access clean potable water, better health and sanitation, clean environment, and better protected and utilized riverbeds.
ROA in collaboration with Gatsby Foundation-UK set up the Shikunga HIV/AIDS Resource Center in 2003 in Butere sub-county. This was a community-initiated project derived from the need by the local community project management committee to respond to challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In October 2018, ROA distributed sanitary pads to girls in a few schools in Kakamega County as a menstrual hygiene intervention to reduce school absenteeism. ROA staffs Doris, Makeba and Andala presented 99 packets of pads to classes 7 and 8 girls in Emukangu primary school.