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An exhibition of wick irrigation that involves using ropes as wicks to supply water to plant roots below the soil surface and thus minimize evaporation. PHOTO: Arnold Ageta

Arnold Ageta

It is early Tuesday morning in Ebate village, Magombo ward in Nyamira County. Farmers are arriving in the village in groups.

Their faces are filled with enthusiasm and joy as they prepare to host the farmers’ exhibition in their backyard.

Most of the attendees are women who are in branded green T-shirts and black skirts.

The exhibition, hosted by Bosinya Community Based Organisation, has attracted farmers from all over the county to showcase their farming techniques and products.

Next to the exhibition venue is a small piece of land where farmers have planted different types of vegetables using modern technology.

People can be seen in groups as they listen to extension officers who are explaining to them various technologies used in vegetable farming.

The exhibition, which International Solidarity Foundation has funded in partnership with Kilimo Bora Public Private Partnerships, is a platform where farmers get educated on modern farming technologies as they empower women who are considered to be most engaged in farming activities.

Milton Ongeri, an extension officer with the county government of Nyamira and the chairman of Kilimo Bora Public Private Partnership, says they seek to train female farmers on good farming practices using small pieces of land.

‘‘Kilimo Bora and International Solidarity Foundation came together to conduct these exhibitions because most women are involved in farming activities, but they do not have enough land for farming and thus their produce is less,’’ he explained.

He adds that due to climate change, crop production has reduced, leading to low or no income from farming activities. This is the reason, he says, they are holding these exhibitions to help farmers increase their produce and earn income from their farms.

‘‘As you can see here, this is a small land but the technology employed here demonstrate that you can harvest a lot,’’ he explains, pointing at a shed net in the farm.

At the shed net, various farming technologies are exhibited, including hanging gardens, cone gardens, multistorey gardens and wick irrigation.

The shed net is approximately ten meters by four meters.

Mr. Ongeri says that the shed net protects crops from hailstones and direct sun, besides ensuring crop hygiene.

‘‘Through these technologies, a small piece of land can yield much and use little water for irrigation using drip and wick irrigation,’’ he explained.

Milton Ongeri, an Extension Officer Nyamira County government, takes farmers through the new farming techniques during the Bosinya CBO Exhibition at Ebate Village in Nyamira County. PHOTO/Arnold Ageta

He adds that ‘‘These technologies ensure a continuous supply of vegetables regardless of the dry season or rainy season.’’

‘‘This shed net technology is cheaper as compared to greenhouse farming which needs special skills in putting it up and managing the crops,’’ he concluded.

Emphasizing on the land issue in Nyamira, Rosebella Kemunto, an officer with International Solidarity Foundation, said that this is the reason they are promoting the use of good modern technologies in agriculture to help farmers maximize farm produce.

Speaking during the expo, Kemunto said that they want to educate the farmers in the area so that they can have good harvests despite the hurting climate change effects on agriculture.

‘‘As much as there is climate change, we have ways they can mitigate climate change effects and increase farm produce in their farms,’’ she assured farmers.

Photo of a farmers in a shed net. A shed net protects crops from hailstones and direct sun, besides ensuring crop hygiene. PHOTO: Arnold Ageta

The exhibition, dubbed ‘Soko Freshi’, is the International Solidarity Foundation’s platform for Muungano Gender Forum that promotes the livelihoods of women who are a majority of small-scale farmers in the community.

Alice Manoti, the Nyamira County Executive Committee Member (CECM), assured farmers that the county government will support them.

‘‘I confirm that we will support you on behalf of the Governor,’’ she told farmers.

The CECM, who was officiating the exhibition on behalf of the governor, further said that the governor is very passionate about agriculture and will seek to implement the agricultural agenda that he had in his manifesto.

‘‘The governor is mostly interested in empowering farmers through such forums, and he welcomes all development partners and NGOs to partner and help our farmers to get empowered,’’ she said.

 Mrs. Cecilia Mokua, a member of Bosinya Women CBO says she’s a great beneficiary of these exhibitions and her testimony is evident that women empowerment helps them to live like others in the society.

‘‘This CBO has helped me acquire new farming methods that have enabled me to earn a living and educate my children,’’ she happily said.

Exhibitions like these help farmers access new agricultural technologies, inputs, and market linkages to mitigate climate change and grow economically.

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