top of page

Female Farmers in Kenya are Fighting Climate Change with Innovative Organic Farming

African Female Farmer (Photo: Aureus)

All Josphine Omenta had was a 70 by 100 feet piece of land. It was a plot in the outskirts of Kisii town on which she needed to build a house, a cowshed, and two chicken coops. But Omenta, 62, was set on growing vegetables, too. How could she grow a vegetable garden on practically no land with, worse, increasingly erratic weather patterns?

But Mrs Omenta, a retired Kenya Agriculture Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) officer, found a way. She would do portable and keyhole kitchen gardening.

The mother of five is among millions of farmers now forced to find innovative ways to work around climate change characterized with prolonged drought, sudden, heavy rainfall and warmer temperatures.

"I purchased four vertical bags and planted a variety of vegetables." she said. "First I got some soil and animal wastes, which I mixed and filled in these bags, made about 80 holes in each bag, and placed them at the concrete slab of this incomplete building."

How was she going to water them?

"I have harvested water and stored in tanks, which I use for irrigation during the short rains to ensure I have a flow of vegetables thought-out," she said.

During the heavy rains, she has no worries about her vegetables being washed away, unlike smallholder farmers who plant in out in the shambas.

Mrs Omenta's neighbour, Isabel Mogeni ventured into organic farming. She makes her own pesticides from animal waste and a cocktail of plant juices, all of which add nutrients to the soil for higher yields.

"During hot and dry winds towards the dry season, I do mulching to maintain the moisture in the soil and this enables the soil to hold water for long," said Ms Mogeni. "I also do irrigation during this season to maintain my production."

Organic farming is one of the best ways of adapting to climate change.

According to Food and Agriculture of the United Nations, least 80 per cent of the world's food is produced by smallholder family farms. But the repercussions of Climate change on agriculture are now squeezing out many of these family-based farms.

The international food policy research institute estimates that global maize production could shrink to 24% by 2050.

Globally, at least 350 million family farmers called on leaders at COP27 held in EL-Shelkh, Egypt, to increase adaption finance and promote a shift to more diverse, low-input agriculture to help farmers adapt to climate change.

During the COP27 conference in Egypt, negotiations for loss and damage offset the burden impacted in African countries and help them, over 60% of Africa's 1.4 bn people live in rural areas and depend on climate-sensitive livelihoods like rain-fed agriculture.

Sources: Capital FM


bottom of page