From Where I Stand: “When it comes to climate action here, the issue is not the size of land but the utilisation of scarce water sources.”
Rachel Nzulu, 29, works for Laikipia County Government’s Department of Agriculture. She is also a Trainer of Trainers (TOT) for the UN Women / Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) project to support women farmers develop climate smart agriculture techniques.
I got into agriculture because it’s so important in Kenya, it’s one of the government’s priorities. I want to help increase food security in Kenya, and I want to help my community fight poverty which follows from food insecurity.
Most farmers in the local community don’t combine crops and plant in open fields. Using modern materials and techniques will improve productivity, and agri-nutrition – that’s why we’re training communities to build vertical gardens. They require minimal space, they’re cheap, you don’t need large amounts of inputs. It uses water more efficiently; you can use water from the kitchen and recycle it.
In the space of about 2x2m, you can plant around 165 seedlings, that’s a lot of produce, and this can turn into 1,000 plants. One of these gardens can support a family of 5. You can spread planting times for even production and harvests all year round.
It is special because you can plant multiple different of crops that are nutritious for your body and you are able to sell surplus vegetables to the community.
Men mostly handle marketing of goods and they’re the ones that get the income. We want to get women involved because they are usually spending time tending to crops and preparing food. They understand these new practices, as they’re largely responsible for providing their families with better nutrition and potential added income.
When it comes to climate action here, the issue is not the size of land but the utilisation of scarce water sources. There is still drought. We always advise to harvest the rain. Despite the level of drought, not anyone can do it. People can’t afford water tanks, guttering for their homes.
The project, ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Through Climate Smart Agriculture in Arid & Semi-Arid Central Areas’ is supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Rachel and her team will be working with over 23 community-based self-help groups in Laikipia who want to learn new farming practices. By end of 2023, the project will have reached over 2,400 farmers across three counties.