More than 300 farmers with donkeys in Homa Bay county can now smile after an organisation started training them on horticultural crops production to diversify their income.
The organisation christened Send a Cow Kenya, which deals with the welfare of donkeys encourages the farmers to grow vegetables, fruits such as banana, pawpaw and mango alongside short seasoned cereal crops.
Send a Cow Project coordinator in the county Peter Ng’ielo said the programme is aimed at enabling donkey farmers to have alternative sources of income.
The farmers are also empowered on how to irrigate their crops using water drawn using donkeys.
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“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 hence they should love the animal,” Ng’ielo said.
Speaking during a field day at Bung Kwach village in Mbita Sub-county, Ng’ielo said the programme is aimed at enabling donkey farmers to produce crops at low cost.
“Crop production using organic manure is profitable because it reduces the cost of production,” he added.
The farmers are also given free field extension services and trained on sustainable organic agriculture and modern methods of crop production.
The organisation also trains farmers to practise the use of organic manure which is cheap and locally available.
In case of crop diseases, the organisation’s agricultural extension officers intervene.
A total of 16 farmer groups distributed in six sub-counties of; Homa Bay, Rangwe, Ndhiwa, Mbita, Rachuonyo South and Rachuonyo North are benefiting from the programme.
Ng’ielo said they have recruited peer farmer trainers who train the farmers on the modern crop production methods to enhance the 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.
Many farmers are now benefiting from the programme which began some months ago.
“My sukuma wiki and traditional vegetables are ready for harvesting. This has enabled my family to be food secure,” said Stephen Otieno, one of the beneficiaries.