More than 300 farmers with donkeys in Homa Bay county can now smile after an organisation started a programme to empower them in horticultural crop production to diversify their income.
This is after Send a Cow Kenya, which deals with the welfare of donkeys, set out to encourage the farmers to grow vegetables, fruits such as banana, pawpaw and mango alongside short seasoned cereals.
The programme is undertaken through the provision of free field extension services for the farmers.
The farmers are trained on sustainable organic agriculture and modern methods of crop production.
Here, the farmers are trained to practise use of organic manure which is cheap and locally available.
In case of crop diseases, the organisation’s agricultural extension officers intervene in their aid.
Sixteen farmers groups distributed in six sub-counties are benefiting from the programme. The farmers are trained through their groups.
The farmers hail from Homa Bay, Rangwe, Ndhiwa, Mbita, Rachuonyo South and Rachuonyo North sub-counties.
Send a Cow Project county coordinator Peter Ng’ielo said the programme is aimed at enabling donkey farmers have alternative sources of income.
The farmers are also trained on how to irrigate crops using water drawn using donkeys.
“We want donkey farmers to realise the essence of donkeys. We are training them to know that a donkey can boost food security in a family," Ng’ielo said.
Speaking during field day at Bung Kwach village in Mbita Sub-county, the county coordinator said the programme is aimed at enabling donkey farmers produce crops at low cost.
“Crop production using organic manure is profitable because it reduces the cost of production,” he added.
The coordinator said they had recruited peer farmer trainers who train the farmers on modern farming methods to enhance sustainability of the programme.
“The peer farmer trainers will continue imparting the knowledge in the project implementation areas even when Send a Cow will have left this county,” Ng’ielo said.
Farmer Stephen Otieno said, “My sukuma wiki and traditional vegetables are ready for harvesting due to this programme. This has enabled my family to be food secure."