By BETH NGUGI
Nairobi,September 26,2017.Given the fact that its every farmer’s dream to produce great yields, a majority of them will adopt methods or approaches that are cost efficient and which increase productivity.
Lack of access to modern technology has, however, been a big hindrance to most small-scale farmers in Kenya. Fortunately, anon-profit body, theNetherland Development Organisation (SNV) is helping entrepreneurial farmers through partnerships with innovative technology suppliers to upscale the uptake of smart water solutions.
Partrick Mukuna is one such farmer from Nakuru County who has benefitted from this program. Mukuna has adopted the use of solar pump and the modern irrigation kit. He attest that these innovations are more efficient compared to the electric and the gasoline pump that he previously used.
“In the past, I depended on rain water resulting to low harvest and very low income. After implementing this technology, I am able to regulate the amount of water going to my crops with the help of the modern irrigation kit. The solar pump, it’s easy to use and is pocket friendly; all I need is the sun, which is a free God-given gift.” Mukuna says.
He asserts that his yields, as well as his income have greatly improved consequently changing his livelihood for the better.
In order to get more farmers adopt these technologies, SNV is working with the technology providers to facilitate it (SNV) in showcasing the technologies to the farmers, and to train them onhow to use the same for better access among the farmers.
Farmers who embrace these innovations stand to gain benefits like increased produce, reduced cost of production, increased efficiency, reduced labour cost, and reduced energy consumption among others.
Majority of the solutions are environment friendly. This promotes the use of green energy as well as reduce soil degradation and erosion. The technologies are gender friendly. This means that they are easy to operate for both men and women.
Ephraim Kahenya, a farmer from nyeri has adopted the use of sprinklers. He shares of how he began irrigating his acre of cabbage using farrows. This would reach 12000 plants. He would harvest 7000, 2000 pieces for his first and second harvest respectively. He would make loses of about 3000 pieces.
“Today, I’m able to irrigate my one acre farm of 20,000 pieces of cabbages within two hours using sprinklers. Previously I would spend twelve hours irrigating 12,000 pieces of cabbages. i have reduced the uptake of water, saved time and increased my produce,” Ephraim attests.
Nonetheless, lack of or poor access to funds for purchasing these technologies remain a big challenge to farmers. Various Solution providers are, nevertheless, now collaborating with financiers to ease farmers to access these funds.
The solution providers are working on more models of disseminating information to people, in a move aimed at promoting and encouraging more farmers to adopt and adapt technology for better and more modernised farming.