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19 Dec 2021 -

Text and photos were sent to us by Benedetta Kyengo of Makueni food forestry

Background

After a cycle of droughts and extreme heat, the county of Makueni in the East of Kenya (8009 km2; 988.000 inhabitants) was identified as a hot spot of human-wildlife conflict resulting from the scramble for scarce water and pasture resources. Climate change has become a growing threat to natural habitats and farmers’ livelihoods. Biodiversity losses and ecosystem degradation are affecting the soil quality and the vegetation upon which the residents and livestock depend. The continuous unreliable rainfalls have led to great losses of harvests, leaving about 60,000 people depending on food assistance. Water shortage is also a big challenge. While climate change continues, water scarcity and food insecurity are becoming an ever-growing challenge in this area.

Makueni food forestry officially started on the 1st of April 2020. The objective of the project is to develop and implement a tailor-made program of blended (mobile and face-to-face) training and education in food forestry by effectively co-creating food forests for and with targeted members of rural communities in Makueni, being local (female) smallholders and food entrepreneurs.

What we do

Our program has three important steps:

  • Training. We have developed a comprehensive food forestry blended training for both classes a face-to-face and a digital version.
    Our training materials have five modules we give farmers a simplified version of a theory class and some practical.
  • Implementation. In this step, we work with farmers to design and plant their food forest.
  • Marketing. In this step, we help get a fair market for the products that the farmers are growing.

So far we have trained 100 farmers and we are in the process of helping 60 of the trained farmers to grow their food forests.

Challenges

Being a semi-arid area Makueni is faced with frequent drought leading to water shortages. This year was not an exception, the long dry period from May till November with no rain was a big challenge to our farmers especially because young trees require water in the beginning. The only source of water available in the area also dried up. To solve this challenge, we dug a borehole, and now we have access to water. However, we would like to buy a water tank to increase our water reservoir so because our current tank is small and when full the water overflows and goes to waste while we could make good use of the water.

Annual report

In the Makueni food forestry year’s overview. you can read in more detail what we have done in 2020.

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