Festus Mutemi working at his backyard sack farm in Kitui County. Photo Courtesy.
In cutting down the irrigation water requirement, one Kitui County farmer has resorted to growing vegetables in sacks to meet the domestic needs.
The 90kg sacks host between 10 and 15 kales grown at the top as well as on the sides.
Festus Mutemi mixes the soil with sawdust to reduce water loss after irrigation. Three litres of water are sufficient in maintaining the productivity of every sack for a day.
The farmer, who started with eight sacks at his Kitui County home in November 2016, is expanding the trade to his other home at Makueni County. He already has to sacks filled with kales.
“I started with trials. I grew the kales on a sack and others on the ground as a control. After one month of irrigation, the ones in the sacks were doing well while those on the ground- despite receiving the same amount of water daily- were weak,” he said.
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The farmer, who is also a student at Laikipia University, picks loam soil, which has good drainage bedsides organic matter and micro organisms for decomposition.
He mixes the soil with about 10kg of goat droppings just before transplanting the seedlings. He later adds chicken droppings mixed with saw dust.
“My family spends at least Sh80 after every three days in purchasing greens. But since November 2016, the expense has been slashed. The little water that is required in this movable farm is just like that in the household,” he said.
The lower eastern region, under which the two counties fall, receives less than 500mm of rain per year, therefore, most to the time it is dry.
As he expands the project to commercial levels, the young agripreneur hopes that sack farming could be helpful in meeting vegetable needs all year round, not only for him, but the residents too.