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Clergy turning semi-arid lands into food basket

By Boniface Gikandi | Published Thu, March 26th 2015 at 00:00, Updated March 25th 2015 at 22:11 GMT +3
Rev. Joseph Maina of Gods Mercy Christian Ministry feeding his chicken. He is among the prominent poultry farmers in Makuyu area in Murang'a County. [PHOTO/BONIFACE GIKANDI/STANDARD]

As many parts of the country grapple with drought, a clergy in semi-arid parts of Murang’a county is looking forward to a bounty harvest, thanks to a water harvesting technology he learnt from agricultural experts.

Bishop Joseph Maina has developed his 10 acres of land at semi arid Karung’angi area into an agricultural demonstration facility visited by hundreds of farmers.

Karung’angi in Makuyu sub-county area is among the driest parts in Mt Kenya region, where residents still depends on relief food from the government and other agencies.

Unlike many farmers within Makuyu who depend on rains for framing, Mr Maina has a borehole to support his horticulture and maize farming, from which he is able to harvest crops all-year-round.

“When I am not on the pulpit preaching, I’m busy in my farm doing what I enjoy best. I also encourage my congregation to take farming as solution to the many challenges facing them in this area “ said the clergy.

Maina who is in his 50s is the founder of God’s Mercy Christian Ministry and rose from a charcoal burner to a prominent farmer in the region, which was a childhood dream.

           BOUNTY HARVEST

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“I was born in Ontulili near Nanyuki town before relocating to Ethi area in Laikipia county, where I developed interest in agriculture and animal husbandry,” said Maina.

In 2007, Maina ventured into maize farming using organic manure and seeking advice from the agricultural officers.

During a visit to his farm last week, The Standard witnessed a thriving crop of maize even as the neighbourhood reported massive crop failure.

“Every year I harvest more than 300 bags of maize, which fetch good returns from the market,” said the farmer.

“My dairy cows produce more than 100 litres of milk daily that is supplied to buyers in Kenol market. We recently witnessed overwhelming milk demand because of the prevailing dry conditions,” said the clergy man.

He said the farm gives him not less than Sh70,000 a month and he has engaged 20 workers to help him care for his chicken, dairy and horticultural crops.

His biggest challenge is the poor infrastructure in the area that expose him to loses whenever it rains, because he can’t reach the market.

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