Famers in west Kanyamkago Ward, Uriri Sub County in Migori County has embarked on not just growing food crops, but focussing on nutritious ones.

This paradigm shift comes amidst surging cases of malnutrition among the residents in Uriri Sub County, with the children under the age of ten being the most affected.

Uriri Sub County has been largely recognised as a tobacco growing area hence when farmers shifted to growing alternative food crops, the need for nutritious one becomes highly likely.

During a farmers field day organised by the Ripple Effect, a non-government organization that trains farmers on modern and simple farming technologies, farmers came out to express their satisfaction in shifting into food that add value to their meals.

Miss Beatrice Achieng, a farmer from west Kanyamkago, the new farming interventions saved her from growing tobacco and In addition, venturing into nutritious crops like sweet potatoes vines, grain amaranth and fruits has saved her family from malnutrition diseases.

According to Miss Achieng, when they started growing food crops, they majored mainly on maize. 

However, with the intervention of the new technologies and trainings on farmers field days in the past, they have been encourage to focus on the nutritious food crops and that has yielded positive results.

“I was an ardent tobacco grower for several years back before I shifted to growing food crops,” says Miss Achieng.

“But when we started growing food crops we did not focus on nutrition, we were just growing crops for the sake of growing food and now things have changed we grow crops of value.” 

Peter Gwengi, the executive director of Lake Victoria Initiatives a non-government organisation that partners with community members on matters health, they encourage the community to grow crops that are of nutritious value.

Mr Gwengi noted that currently there is a lot of diseases associated with nutrition and also there are farmers and other community members who are living with HIV thus there are certain food crops that if they eat, will help boost their immunity.

“we are trying to advice farmers on which kinds of crops to grow that will help boost their immunity and add nutrition value to their meals so they that they are not just eating for the sake,” said Mr Gwengi.

“We are also training them on how to prepare these foods so that they don’t lose their nutritious values.”

He additionally outlined that some health conditions like living with HIV can only be managed through eating well by having a balanced diet as there is no cure for such ailments.

Beatrice were from Ripple Effect Organization added that as on organization, they are promoting climate smart faming technologies that are improving access to safe nutritious foods.

She outlined that one of the main crops of high nutritious value is the grain amaranth that they are not only encouraging farmers to adopt in numbers but also the entire residents of Migori County.

“We are working with people living with HIV/AIDS who have suppressed immunity and with the introduction of the grain amaranth, their immunity system is going to be boosted when they take porridge made from the crop,” she outlined.

Uriri sub county deputy county commissioner Miss Monicha Kangethe who graced the field day event lauded the new farming systems that embraces the growing of nutritious crops.

Miss Kangethe added that as a national government they are joining hands with initiatives that promotes the livelihood of the locals and that ensures there is sustainable food production to ensure food security.

“We want to encourage the local community to embrace these technologies and adopt them to ensure there is a sustainable food production to the entire community,” she said.

A while back, the DCC noted that West Kanyamkago ward was backward, infested with a lot of insecurity issues, high poverty levels and also the nutritional conditions of children was very poor. 

However, this she says has changed since the farmers have been introduced into food crop growing that has ensured there is enough for families.

“Since these farmers started to uptake the technologies introduced to them by the Ripple Effect, there has been reduced cases of malnutrition in children, poverty levels have reduce and also insecurity case has greatly decline as people are busy in their farms,” she noted.

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