Youth tending to his zucchini crops. Agronomical support is key in crop production and food security. Photo courtesy.
A team of five agricultural graduates in Butula, Bungoma County is training farmers who are growing different crops such as horticulture crops, sorghum, cassava and fruits among others with an aim to enable them to attain food security among themselves and earn extra cash.
This was also a way of creating employment instead of waiting for employment in the sector.
The team which consists of two graduates from National Youth Service (NYS), another two from Maseno University and one from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) started the work in 2013 after graduation and internship, a move which has seen each of them earn Sh15,000 a month.
“We started this initiative with my colleague after graduation and an internship programme at the ministry of agriculture in the county seven years ago. This is after the farmers we interacted with continuously sought for our services even after leaving the programme,” said Samuel Juma, a member of the team.
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In order to satisfy the various farmers’ needs, the team has members specialized in various field practices such as precision agriculture, soil management, crop management and animal health. This enables them to reach a wider majority of farmers.
Since its conception some farmers who consult the team on contract within a period of time and pay according to the size of the work and duration while others are offered free services something that has attracted many of them.
Therefore the team early this year decided to register the team as a community-based organization called Butula Agriculture Centre.
“Since the registration of our group in January this year, we have increased number of farmers who look for our services. We currently have 12 farmer groups and 25 individual farmers whom we work with across the county,” said Juma.
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The CBO which already has a small office in Butula Sub-County is also helping farmers in dairy farming and more so in white sorghum production which most farmers in the region have adopted given the ready market provision by Kenya Breweries Ltd.
However, one of the challenges the team faces is the lack of enough funds to help in the expansion and facilitation of the team to various places to meet farmers.
“Our main focus are women, youth and persons leaving with disabilities helping them find a sustainable source of income in farming and marketing of their produce. These groups of people lack financial might hence the need for support,” said Juma.
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The CBO is now looking forward to turning the centre into a model farm where farmers can come to learn and graduates come for internships. In this, it will be a centre which offers impactful hands-on practices for farm producers and experts.
Juma can be reached on +254716581924