Rongo University in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada has initiated a multi-actor engagement project to sensitize farmers on affordable food systems in Migori County.

The project dubbed Food Learning and Growing (FLOW) aims at engaging farmers in the region in impact pathway mapping and visioning for sustainable farming.

The seven-year program also aims at engaging the media to sensitize the local farmers on the modern approaches to crop cultivation while also disseminating information on the existing gaps in food security.

While speaking at a multi-actor engagement, impact pathway mapping, and visioning workshop at the university premises, Prof. Samuel Gudu, said that the project aims at improving food systems.

The Vice-Chancellor underscored the need for farmers to understand the types of soil and their crop suitability for improved crop production.

“The project is mainly centered on the food systems revolving around production, storage, and distribution of quality food for healthy living,” said Gudu.

He narrated that the project involves different stakeholders who contribute to the farmer’s understanding of the farm technology to be used in the pilot project while also using feedback from farmers.

The Vice-Chancellor said that they project a self-reliant community of farmers with good knowledge of crop production while stakeholders are actively involved in the supply chain.

This will also enable them to reduce the contamination of food resources as the project will sensitize farmers on the correct usage of organic fertilizers.

Technology based Agriculture

The project which works to combat the effects of climate change brought about by Global warming is being piloted by a team of researchers and scientists from Kenya, Canada and Brazil.

Dr. Andrew Spring, a PhD student from Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada said that the project aims at averting climate change by growing food crops sustainably.

According to Andrew, the project uses research findings to categorize each region and this helps in determining the types of crops to be grown.

“As the project seeks to ensure that we grow crops sustainably, we also use research to help us know what the farmers prioritize and the ability of a specific region to produce a specific crop,” said Dr. Andrew.

He added that while the project will be involving experts from other countries, it will also help postgraduate students in the same field to expand their knowledge in crop production as well as build capacity for farmers.

“As we embark on this, the project will solicit experts’ contributions as well as be a platform for farmers to air their voices and concerns,” reiterated Andrew.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, the project will comprehensively look into both crop and livestock production by building their capacity in both fields.

According to Professor Gudu, “the project’s involvement in farming system will greatly help the farmers to improve on how they produce food in all aspects of food production, agro-ecology and ways of producing clean food.”

According to Dr. Andrew, making knowledge available for farmers and other stakeholders on sustainable agriculture is one of the long-lasting solutions to the food crisis.

He insisted on the need to make the knowledge accessible to farmers as a way of making them self-reliant and responsive to sudden climate change, to ensure that there is always food in the stores.

“Among the things we want to do in this project is making the knowledge available for all farmers to help them in the face of surging food insecurity that has currently been an elephant in the room,” he said.

Farmers hope for more crop yields

Jane, a local farmer of sorghum said that the project will be critical in helping them know different pest control strategies while also increasing their knowledge of modern agriculture.

She said that for a long time, the farmers have been struggling with agriculture, brought about by a lack of proper knowledge of the soil type and crop suitability.

“Before, we used to encounter great loss due to field pests such as birds that fed on the crops before harvesting, leaving us with little to harvest,” said Jane.

With the program, the farmers are hopeful as they start the new planting season with improved knowledge, improved seeds, and better ways of pest control.