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INT06 - Foundations for Farming: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: May 20, 2019

Report from John Vlaming Following Trip to Kenya and Uganda in May


Kisii Area, Kenya


Francis and Jesse (KEN07c) trained 36 people here late last year. Attendants were mostly widows but also included their village leader Joseph. Most use the methods at least to some degree. The general use of fertiliser has decreased a lot. Maize crops look good but are yet to be harvested. There was a complaint about the lack of available top dressing (Nitrogen). A big problem had been the ongoing dry season which caused many to have to re-plant, some even twice. This put pressure on seed availability and price. Finding enough mulch is always difficult because of the same dryness. Mulch was used to feed animals and even used for firewood (especially the maize stalks). They requested more training in other crops eg. Sorghum. Another issue is the number of older widows who struggle to get the hard work done.

struggles to find mulchZippora had a leading role in getting Foundations for Farming (FfF)  training in that place a few years back and had seen significant yield increases. However after a couple of seasons she had gone back to old methods and got a zero yield. She is now a FfF disciple! She was growing beans and had some Leucena trees growing in the field. It was good to see an example of agroforestry in a small way.

Close by is Davies’ field. He is a faithful follower of the methods even though he also struggles to find enough mulch. He got three bags for just under an acre of land.

It was in this area that a man had told Jesse he wanted to chase them away with his hoe when he saw them in the field. When he later saw the results in his wife’s field he actually started helping her. Their yield increased from 10 tins to well over a 50kg bag from their little plot.



instrumental person


Salome and her AOG pastor husband moved here in 2015. She had received training at Eshel Gardens (KEN07a) just after Francis and Jesse got back from training in Harare. She was instrumental in getting FfF training organised here. This year she has planted three times because of the ongoing dry. Last year she got 80 kg of maize from 1 kg planted.

They are currently trying to get rid of coffee trees because of low prices and often not getting paid. However the government jails people if they get caught killing coffee trees so they try to get rid of them slowly. Due to cheap imported maize, prices are very low and some have even started feeding poorer crops to livestock. 



Got Osimbo, Kenya (KEN07c)

new additionFrancis, Jesse and I drove just under two hours from Kisumu via Maseno and Ugunja to Got Osimbo. The reason for the visit was to see the brick making machine in action and inspect the church property where crops are grown and a number of Foundations for Farming courses have been held.

The brick making machine is a hand-press that makes inter-locking bricks and was funded by Bright Hope World. Soil is mixed with cement (1 bag cement per 100 bricks) and then pressed into a moulded inter-locking brick. The bricks look really good but it is a new concept in this area. They have been used in South Africa for years with even multi story buildings built with them.

Francis hopes to build a building with them on the church property to show locals what it looks like and that they are safe to use. He has in mind to sell them for Ks 25 to 30 (US$0.25-0.30). Not much has happened yet so I encouraged Francis to make use of this opportunity as soon as possible. The problem he has had is that workers don’t tend to stay longer than a few months. They are barely trained in certain tasks and then they leave. According to Francis that is a common problem in this area of Kenya. The machine is housed in a very large building in progress, owned by Ibrahim Omondi’s brother. Francis resides here when he is in Got Osimbo.

good areaWalking to the church property Francis was spoken to by everybody we passed. He is clearly held in very high regard. The church property is very weedy apart from the area where maize is growing and an area where Blackeria (kind of Napier grass) has been planted. The aim for this crop is to harvest and sell the hay for animal fodder. The issue is that maize prices are so low here that it is completely un-economic to grow maize for sale. There is also an area planted in groundnuts but this was poorly tended. Francis organised some people on the spot to have this seen to. As we so often say: "when you are far from your field you are close to disaster".

Another problem here is that people looking for grazing cut fences and let their animals roam other people’s fields. The fence here was indeed cut as well so Francis had to organise someone to fix it.



Nyabondo, Sondu, Kenya 

really engaged

A Foundations for Farming training was held here from 7-9 May, 2019. Francis Ogembo, Jesse Killel and myself shared the training between us. There were 20 participants plus a few others that came for parts of the training. This training was organised by Grace and Gabriel Abanga (KEN12) and held in the New Apostolic Church led by Pastor Silas.

Participants were really engaged and seemed to accept the concepts presented well. Follow up by Francis and Jesse in the near future has been organised already. The hills in this area have good soil with a Ph around 6.6. The rains are more reliable than in some other parts but they suffered patchy early rain here as well. There is also a river running through the area from where they can irrigate. Good early gains from using the Foundations for Farming methods therefore seem very possible here.  



Nyakagando, Kigumba, Uganda

big dayRefresher Training

On 13th May 2019, a refresher training was held in the school behind the Dove Christian Fellowship building in Nyakagando, Kiriyandongo district, Kigumba. Pastor Caleb was again one of the participants. It made for a big day but all the basics of the methods were covered. Two participants, Edward Kisembo and Teflo Dradebo, gave testimony to how using these methods had improved their crop yields. Neighbours has asked about what they were doing different so they were encouraging everybody there to keep at it.

One concern raised was that people found it hard to get piece workers to follow their instructions and often found work done the traditional way.


Farm Visits

generally good resultsI visited a number of farmers that trained in the methods of Foundations for Farming in March 2018. Ephraim Tumusiime from Touch Africa Now, Kampala, had organised the visits and accompanied me. The first visit was with Margaret Odonyo. This time of the year she buries her cassava cuttings completely, rather than the FfF method of planting a cutting upright. This is done in this area to protect the cuttings against termites. In her maize field she had not used fertiliser or compost. The spacing was not great but it was a well weeded and reasonably well mulched crop. The plants looked healthy in spite of only getting rain in the last three days as the dry season had extended well into May here as well.

We then visited the fields of Violet Katusiime. Again there was no fertiliser or compost but due to very good soils they seem to be getting a good crop anyway, using either would increase yields significantly all the same. It was well measured and weeded - a good job. She also grows sesame (Samsam).

Difa has also followed the methods well and again had good results in his maize crop.