The results are in: 4.6 tonnes of spuds!
Local partner Rachel Karanja is helping her community in Kenya embrace ‘Farming God’s Way’ for bigger harvests
The outbreak of COVID-19 caused job losses and food shortages in Rachel’s local community not far north of Nairobi. A food bank offered immediate help for local families, but was there a more sustainable, long-term option?
Rachel had previously trained communities in Farming God’s Way, a simple tool designed to equip the poor to come out of poverty through biblical farming principles. Early on in the pandemic, communities already using the method were able to donate food to needy families out of their surplus.
As the pandemic went on and food shortages continued, more people lost their jobs. People were unable to provide for their families, and too much time spent idle wasn’t doing anyone any good either. Rachel and her husband, Pastor Joseph, helped a group of local men and women register with Farming God’s Way and obtain certified seeds from the ministry of agriculture.
Joseph and Rachel volunteered the use of their one-eighth-of-an-acre plot for the group’s first project: potatoes. Using the Farming God’s Way principles – which include no ploughing, using heavy mulch covers and managing the land for minimal wastage – the group planted their seeds and waited. The harvest came in, and the results were clear: with a yield of only one tonne, their pilot was a flop.
Nevertheless, the group refused to give up. Joseph approached a local opinion leader, who allowed the group to use his three-quarters-of-an-acre farm. The group planted potatoes again and waited. The harvest came in, and the results were different this time: 4.6 tonnes!
Next season, the group pulled together to lease a one-acre plot. The farmers planted their seeds and waited. The harvest came in, and this time, too, their venture had been a success: six tonnes of produce!
Then and now
Previously, several of these farmers had been just scraping by, barely harvesting enough for their families to live on. Through coming together to farm God’s way, members of this community have learned new farming techniques which have allowed them to harvest enough produce for each of their households until the next harvest, and even have a surplus to sell.
Formerly reliant on the ministry of agriculture for seeds, members of the community can now get whatever seeds they need from within the community.
Having piloted the Farming God’s Way principles together, individuals have been able to put the principles into practice on their own farms and increase productivity across crops such as maize, beans and sweet potatoes.
Joseph and Rachel hope to form more groups and lease more land collectively, allowing for more crops to be planted.
Empowering people to farm more effectively will help people to live more sustainably and save money, benefiting the community as a whole.
Joseph and Rachel plan to offer Farming God’s Way training more widely: “Our aim is transformation,” says Rachel. “First, we were charitable by giving food relief, the best approach now is to empower them so that they feed themselves and by the time they are able to feed their families and get surplus for sale, then transformation shall have taken place.”