In Kenya, many rural households rely on small-scale farming for livelihoods. For instance, Fredrick Mwachofi, a 47-year-old father of four, is a dairy farmer in Mwatate Sub-county in Taita Taveta County.
Before 2012 when the Ihigia-ini Youth Bunge was formed in Murang’a County, many members were unemployed and relied on menial jobs for survival. “Many of us were idlers before forming the bunge. We would spend our time drinking alcohol with the little money we earned and we were a menace to society. I was a drunkard and I barely made any income,” said David Mwangi, president of the 21- member group of eleven women and ten men.
Evelyn Biwott’s two dairy cows on her one-acre farm in Kenya barely produced enough milk for what her family needed at home and for feeding the calf. Since maize stalks from plantations were not enough to feed their dairy cows, Biwott and other women dairy farmers in the area travelled long distances to fetch wild grass in the forest.
David and Anna Maithya were not satisfied with the level of productivity and income they had reached through fish and fruit farming, but were determined to make a better living in agribusiness.
USAID’s Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises (KAVES) program helped them achieve their goal. The couple learned about yellow passion fruit farming in November 2013, and dedicated a quarter-acre of their farmland for the demonstration crop. They adopted the water retention technology using the Belsap polymer from KAVES partner Bell Industries Kenya.
“We are always afraid of a disease outbreak! Many animals die because we don’t have people who can treat them,” explains Sori Guyo, a pastoralist in Marsabit County. Drought and subsequent disease outbreaks can cause daily livestock death, negatively affecting the household incomes of the communities in the northern arid lands who largely depend on pastoralism.
Last updated: January 25, 2016