You are here: Home > News > Blogs > Building sustainable futures in Kenya through regenerative agriculture

Building sustainable futures in Kenya through regenerative agriculture

24 April 2024

Building sustainable futures in Kenya through regenerative agriculture

By Mary Kimani, Data Clerk, Regenerative Agriculture project, Farm Africa

Agriculture is an essential part of Kenya’s economy. But in Embu, one of the leading food baskets in Kenya, and Tharaka Nithi, a semi-arid county where over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line, the changing climate is threatening agricultural production and food security.

With funding from the IKEA Foundation through AGRA, Farm Africa is working with over 50,000 farmers in these counties, promoting regenerative agriculture methods such as mulching, minimum tillage, micro-dosing of fertilisers and intercropping.

These techniques help to build smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate extremes, improve soil health, retain moisture in the soil and boost yields, enabling farmers to protect their land, and their livelihoods.

One of these farmers is Lucia, who lives in Tharaka Nithi, where extreme weather events are becoming the norm.

“The biggest challenge I face is the rain. Recently the rains stopped much earlier than usual, when the crops had not matured,” Lucia explained.

But since implementing the regenerative agriculture techniques, Lucia’s harvests have been booming. She now has a flourishing sorghum farm, which has enabled her to earn enough money to build a better home for her family.

“When Farm Africa came, they showed me how to plan my farming, how to space my crops. That is when my yields increased. I also have livestock,” Lucia added.

Goats at a farm in Kenya

Livestock play a crucial role in regenerative agriculture. On Lucia’s farm, her goats break up the soil with their hooves, which allows for better water infiltration and root growth, while their manure enriches the soil and improves its fertility.

Livestock also provide smallholder farmers with additional sources of income such as meat, dairy and other animal products – and when farmers diversify their revenue streams, they increase their resilience to climate extremes.

Another farmer enjoying success thanks to regenerative agriculture is Juliet from Embu County in Kenya: “Before I joined Farm Africa, my yields were low because I only used fertiliser. After using regenerative agriculture techniques, now my yields are high. I have been rearing goats. I sell goats, I sell meat, I have manure, so my life is better.”

Juliet with her goats

As part of the project, Farm Africa is promoting agroforestry, encouraging farmers to plant trees on their farms. Not only does this protect the environment, but it means farmers can earn additional income from the sale of fruit. For Lucia, it means she will have money into her old age, “Growing trees is my way of earning a pension.”

Lucia had to leave school early as her father died when she was young, but her desire to learn remained, “Farm Africa increased my knowledge…Education is very important. If you are educated, you can work hard and earn enough to educate your children so they can get jobs. That is how you improve your whole community.”

Lucia with her family

Lucia’s knowledge is now benefitting multiple communities as she shares the skills she has learnt with 200 other smallholder farmers nearby, “It gives me so much joy when I teach other farmers…Knowledge is power.”

You can support more farmers like Lucia and Juliet to build sustainable futures across eastern Africa by donating to Farm Africa’s spring appeal.

Photos: Farm Africa/Arete.

Stay up to date with the latest news and projects