News and knowhow for farmers

Or­ganic ag­ri­cul­ture pro­du­ces more in­come & health be­ne­fits for farm­ers

Or­ganic ag­ri­cul­ture is not only cap­able of gen­er­at­ing com­par­able yields, but also pro­du­cing more in­come and health be­ne­fits for farm­ers than con­ven­tional meth­ods ac­cord­ing to long-term study by the Swiss Re­search In­sti­tute of Or­ganic Ag­ri­cul­ture (FiBL) in Kenya.

The study which took ten years was con­duc­ted in Thika and Chuka sub-counties. It found that or­ganic farm­ing does not need much time and space in order to start be­ne­fit­ing farm­ers. With less farm in­puts and good mar­ket for or­ganic foods, farm­ers can start earn­ing high after five years of crop­ping and 53 per cent higher be­ne­fit the fol­low­ing year.

An­other im­port­ant factor re­vealed by the study is the sig­ni­fic­ant im­prove­ment in soil fer­til­ity in or­ganic farm­ing. Ad­di­tion­ally, the non-use of chem­ical in­puts in or­ganic farm­ing sys­tems gen­er­ates be­ne­fi­cial ef­fects on farms’ eco­sys­tems as well as on the health of people since there are no harm­ful chem­ical residues.

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Today over 200, 000 farm­ers in Kenya have taken up or­ganic farm­ing given thou­sands of ex­port­ers now look for or­gan­ic­ally grown pro­duce. As a res­ult more or­ganic prac­tices like push-pull method which was de­veloped by In­ter­na­tional Centre of In­sect Physiology and Eco­logy (ISIPE) in the early 1990s and since been im­proved is ap­peal­ing to most farm­ers.

Mi­chael Gitau who the Chair­man of Cent­ral Farm­ers and Con­sumer Or­gan­iz­a­tion in Thika, says that or­gan­ic­ally grown fruits and ve­get­ables have gained pop­ular­ity among middle and high in­come house­holds in Kenya.

Den­nis Mukai is a farmer from Nyeri County who went or­ganic farm­ing six years ago. The ven­ture which he learnt from his father has made him be­come one of the out­spoken farmer within the county and bey­ond.

“I was in­tro­duced into or­ganic farm­ing by my father when it was still fresh among farm­ers when most farm­ers were still using syn­thetic fer­til­izers and pesti­cides,” said Mukai.

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