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    Organisation equipping small-scale arid farmers with skills & tools to store fodder

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    By George P. Munene

    Foun­ded in 2019, the One Acre Nyasi Cam­paign aims to sens­it­ize live­stock keep­ers, es­pe­cially in arid and semi-arid re­gions, on the im­port­ance of pas­ture pro­duc­tion as well as of­fer­ing them skills and tools, pre­vi­ously un­avail­able to small-scale farm­ers, that help them har­vest, bale and store fod­der to serve as feed in times of drought as well as of­fer­ing them a sup­ple­ment­ary in­come.

    The pro­gram that has on­boarded over 800 farm­ers thus far of­fers con­sultancy ser­vices (on the vari­ety of grasses suited to vari­ous re­gions, the best ag­ro­nomic and post-har­vest prac­tices) usu­ally over What­s­app. This An­drew says owes to the fact that most op­er­ate one- or two-acre par­cels of land mak­ing it eco­nom­ic­ally in­feas­ible to reach every one of them. 

    Con­sultancy ser­vices are charged at Sh2,000 but offered for free to farm­ers who pur­chase propaga­tion ma­ter­ial (seeds or plant­ing ma­ter­ial) as well as vari­ously fab­ric­ated fod­der har­vest­ing tools, ie, hay balers and mowers. 

    “Our unique equip­ment is pur­pose-made to cater to farm­ers with less than five acres of land. These are a mower fit­ted with a one-meter blade im­por­ted from South Africa and a wheel­bar­row style-driven hay baler,” says An­drew Kori­ata, the pro­gram’s lead in ex­plain­ing its gen­esis. These ma­chines cost Sh 4500 and Sh9000 re­spect­ively and are avail­able at Kenya Farm­ers As­so­ci­ation out­lets. 

    Re­lated News: Super Napier grass yield­ing 4X reg­u­lar vari­et­ies in­tro­duced in Kenya

    Re­lated News: Ac­count­ant earns double from dairy and hay pro­duc­tion after quit­ting job

    “The dev­ast­a­tion wrought by severe droughts in 2008 and 2011 in scores of live­stock deaths made clear the in­ad­equa­cies in fod­der man­age­ment know­ledge for small­holder live­stock keep­ers. This presen­ted a clearly un­der­served ag­ri­cul­tural seg­ment,” An­drew says. 

    The One Acre Nyasi Cam­paign has ma­jored in the pro­duc­tion of two major grasses; bra­chiaria and Rhodes. This is be­cause they are both high in crude pro­tein, highly pal­at­able, have vig­or­ous re­growth and most im­port­ant un­like other fod­ders such as Napier, can be made into bales.

    Rhodes grass seeds cost Sh500 per kilo­gram with six kilo­grams re­quired to sow an acre. Bra­chiaria is grown in splits which cost Sh6 for every split and three thou­sand splits are enough to cater to an acre. This too presents an­other earn­ing op­por­tun­ity to farm­ers who are often called upon to ser­vice farm­ers who are near them with these propaga­tion ma­ter­i­als.

    “For farm­ers we have worked with we have seen im­proved out­comes in their pre­pared­ness to weather harsh cli­matic times by hav­ing enough pas­ture to tide them over until the rains are avail­able as well as hav­ing sur­plus pas­ture that we help them source for buy­ers for through our ex­tens­ive net­work of farm­ers,” Kori­ata says.

    Re­lated News: Bra­chiaria grass res­cues farmer's cow from drought

    Con­sultancy is a cru­cial first step in fod­der propaga­tion; while bra­chiaria grass has had a trans­form­at­ive im­pact in live­stock keep­ing, most farm­ers for ex­ample re­main un­aware of the fact that dif­fer­ent vari­et­ies of the grass are suited to dif­fer­ent eco­lo­gical loc­al­it­ies: Mu­lato II is less drought-tol­er­ant while other such as Toledo, Ba­silisk & MG 5 are har­dier and still thrive in arid re­gions. “Of a pic­ture of lush green fo­liage off the in­ter­net you will often find a farmer hav­ing grown Mu­lato bra­chiaria in a hot dry area and won­der­ing why it per­forms poorly,” he il­lu­min­ates, “these are some of the pit­falls we help farm­ers avoid.” 

    One Acre Nyasi Cam­paign:http://​www.​oneacre.​qiksearch.​africa/ (0720507555)

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