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Learning About Agriculture and Food Security in Kenya
Agriculture is vital to the livelihood and survival for the majority of people in Kenya. Many people are employed in the agriculture industry in positions such as field workers, transporters and harvesters. Agriculture is also a main source of food in Kenya, with people depending on staple crops including maize and beans. Local farmers also earn an income to support their families through selling their crops. The national economy also benefits through agricultural exports.
For over a decade, community members in the Narok South District in Kenya have successfully grown maize and have been able to feed and support their families and send their children to school, with periodic difficulties due to lack of rain. Unfortunately, as we reported in June, a fungal disease, leaf stripe, was destroying maize crops in Free The Children communities, putting the communities at risk of a food shortage. Widespread drought due to the region’s recent dry season is also contributing to a starvation risk for these communities. But with your support, Free The Children has been able to put initiatives in place to combat and avert hunger, including working with community members to help them grow alternative, drought-resistant crops. As part of our school nutrition program, over the summer Free The Children distributed 280 bags of maize and 75 bags of beans to schools.
Free The Children has also been working with community groups to address food security challenges in their communities. One of these groups is the Munyaka men’s group in the community of Motony. The group’s 18 members are committed to working as a team to ensure food security in their community, taking on tree planting and farming projects. Group members have grown over 2,000 tree seedlings in their community’s tree nursery, selling the seedlings to the community and at nearby markets.
To combat the lack of rain in their region, each group member recently contributed money toward an irrigation project at their one-acre farm, where they have also started growing onions. Free The Children provided training to the group on how to best care for their farm, and how to control possible crop diseases. The farm is doing well, and is providing income to the group, so they can support their families and send their children to school. The group is also admired by their community, and they are teaching fellow community members about farming. As a result, more groups in the community are starting to adopt farming.
It’s been a challenging few months for Motony and the other Free The Children communities, but with your support, our agricultural initiatives have been successful in alleviating and preventing starvation for community members. We look forward to this success continuing in the months to come!
The agriculture and food security pillar, made possible by founding partner PotashCorp, focuses on innovative farming techniques and water management projects to help ensure developing communities have access to self-sustaining food sources, directly impacting their health, access to education and life outcomes. Learn more about this pillar here.