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Thursday, 7 April 2011

COMMUNIAL CASSAVA FARMING


 Farming has being sidelined for such a long time now but it is contrary to Laikipia west residents. Being a semi-arid area, you would expect them to have given up long time ago but instead they have taken the liberty to form groups such as Lackin to be able to farm and grow as a community. The most interesting part about the group is that it did not wait for the government to reach out to them but instead went out and found a way for the government to come and help them. Through the NMK (Njaa Marufuku Kenya) initiative, they were able to meet there goal.
            Lackin (Laikipia Centre for Knowledge and Information Network) is a group of the community. Composed of 42 members, they aim to promote cassava multiplication, value addition and marketing. There plan is to be able to make cassava there staple food and a product they can sell to other people. Marketing of there products is done through a social network known as Sokopepe thus eradicating the exploitation that had been bestowed upon them by the middlemen. When I asked them why they chose to grow cassava, they said because cassava is able to handle the harsh conditions of the semi arid area.
            After choosing the crop, the group sat down and decided to write a proposal and forward it to the government for their project. When approved the government rewarded them the amount of one hundred and twenty thousand shillings (ksh.120, 000) on the 30 /June /2010. The group grows three varieties of cassava, which are, KMU-1, EKNDORO, and MUCHERICHERI.
            They not only farm but also, have the FFS (field farmers’ school) that they attend and are able to learn about different issues. So far, they have been able to learn about poultry keeping, sorghum farming and currently made soup they can use. FFS has norms followed by the members to be able to promote core values among them.
            Today, the people were fortunate enough to receive the government officials who were able to evaluate them. The officials headed by Mister Njiru, interviewed them concerning different matters, such as; their group progress, challenges that they are facing and he also highly advised them to promote gender equality by choosing more women in their committees which comprised of chairman, assistant chairman, secretary and treasurer because they had one out of  four in the group. Later he gave Mister Methuselah, the government’s internal audit a chance to question them on matters concerning the groups’ funds.
            When all was said and done, they were encouraged to continue with there good work, with the same communal spirit so that they could not only grow cassava but also promote unity among them.


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BY: PEGGIE MATI RUA.
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