Benefits of organic farming lure more practitioners in Kiambu

Organic farmers from Kiambu county have appealed to residents to embrace the practice and grow crops that find market every day.

They also urged locals to practice mixed cropping so as to ensure they do not waste land and double their products.

Organic farmer Wilfred Mwaura says the challenge of organic farming is water, as all other inputs the crops need in a farm to grow are readily available.

Mwaura grows different types of vegetables inter-cropped with fruits.

He subdivided his farm into portions where he has planted cabbages, spinach and kales while in between them, he has planted fruits such as pineapples, tree tomato, pawpaws and vegetable friendly tall trees.

“The fruits act as shades but do not completely cover the vegetables from the sunshine,” Mwaura said.

Mwaura harvests his kales and spinach every two weeks, but fruits are harvested nearly every week once they ripen.

“I normally sell fruits, spinach and kales every week. Most organic farmers normally have a flow of money in their pockets every week,” he says.

“The leaves they shed and weeds uprooted during cultivation dry up in the farms and are used as fertiliser” he said.

Mwaura reveals that he selects his seeds from the produce and does not need to buy.

Agricultural extension officer with Cosdep Kenya Karen Nekesa says organic farmers develop their own pest and disease remedies using weeds such as Mexican marigold, pitonia leaves and others.

Nekesa urged the government to certify the seeds used by organic farmers and remedies they make and use to control pests and diseases so that farmers can have a variety when they go shopping.

“The government needs to certify our pest and disease controls since farmers who practice organic farming use them and have succeeded. This could be a booster to our farming practice throughout the country,” the officer said.

He spoke at Mwaura’s home in Gitiha village in Githunguri constituency when farmers from the area met others from Kamburu ward in Lari constituency to learn about organic farming.

Agriculture expert with Institute of Culture and Ecology Mburu Gathuru said most farmers do not have information on how they can run successful organic farming.

Gathuru said Ice organised the event as a way of sensitising organic farmers about their work.

He encouraged farmers that the market of the produce is readily available in towns and cities.

“In our area of Kamburu, about 48 per cent of our farmers practice organic farming. The rest practice dairy and tea farming,” he said.

Within Kiambu county, Gathuru said Ice had visited different places sensitising farmers and that locals were paying attention to organic farming and had started practicing it.

Gathuru, who is a former MCA in Kamburu, urged Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi to consider reserving an area for organic farmers to sell their produces in different markets in the county.

Mwaura said vegetable and fruit buyers visit his home to buy his produce nearly every day.

When stopped working at Nairobi he weighed over 150kg, but his farming activities and diet have reduced his weight up to 70kg.

“I used to eat junk packed foods. I started going to the gym, where I used to pay Sh2,500 every week. One day, I decided enough was enough and instead of paying that money, I bought a jembe, gumboots, a panga and  I went home where I started practising organic farming,” he said.

“In the morning, I eat a fruit or several fruits and then I proceed with my farming activities and the other meals later. With that practice, I realised that my body was fit and I now weigh about 70kg.”


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