Ken Munene, a 24-year-old from Kageri village in Nthawa Ward, Mbeere North sub-County of Embu, had no prior experience as a farmer before his encounter with Farm Africa in 2020. Driven by curiosity he attended an AGRA-funded Regenerative Agriculture Project training, and has never looked back.
Regenerative agriculture takes a holistic approach to the agro-ecosystem, involving farming principles that place a premium on soil health, water management, fertilizer use and crop rotation among other beneficial practices.
He set up three plots measuring 10 meters-by-10 meters, and intercropped maize and beans to demonstrate regenerative agriculture technology incorporating the use of manure, mulching and biofertilizer respectively. However, the remaining three plots served as the controls, depicting conventional farmer practice where none of the technologies were demonstrated.
“I harvested 40 Kgs, 35 Kgs and 25 Kgs of maize respectively from the plots that had received applications of manure, mulching and biofertilizer,” explains Ken, “and 12 Kgs, 8 Kgs and 7Kgs of beans respectively from the same plots under the same conditions.”
However, in the control plots where there was no application of either manure, mulching or biofertilizer, Ken harvested 15 Kgs, of maize respectively and 8 Kgs, 6 Kgs and 5 Kgs of beans respectively.
“The demonstration plots elicited enough response from the community, with farmers keen to discuss the merits and components of the increased production per unit area in comparison to conventional practice,” he adds.
Another exciting outcome of the project for Ken was when Farm Africa facilitated business and financial linkages to Juhudi Kilimo, a social enterprise partner that provides asset financing and technical assistance to smallholder farmers, as well as to small and medium agribusinesses in rural Kenya. “I am a Juhudi Kilimo agent, on a retainer and I market their brand as well as mobilizing farmers to access tools for scale up and success,” he adds with pride.