Blogs

The Role of PlantVillage's Kitchen Gardening in Boosting Women's Economic Empowerment in Narok County

The Role of PlantVillage's Kitchen Gardening in Boosting Women's Economic Empowerment in Narok County

Written by Dennis Avokoywa.

In the arid landscapes of Narok County, life has always been challenging for pastoralist communities, especially for children and women like Jackline Normeshuki, commonly known to locals as Mama Mboga.

 

Normeshuki earned a living for decades by making and selling beads, a craft deeply rooted in her Maasai culture. However, despite her efforts, she earned less than $4 a week, making it impossible to sustain her family.

 

Desperate for a more reliable income, Normeshuki sold tea at the local market. This activity was a challenging transition. She had to wake up as early as 2 a.m. to prepare the tea and then walk through the dark, risking encounters with wild animals and other dangers, to reach the market on time.

 

"Nkorinkori market, located about 4 kilometers from my home, is the closest. I had to walk there every Friday morning to sell tea to the business people, who arrived at 5 a.m. to sell and buy livestock. Any delay meant I wouldn't make enough money since several other women were also selling tea," she recalled.

 

Furthermore, this new business took up much of her time. She had to spend less time at home and with her children. This caused her kids to miss school on Fridays because no one could look after them. The financial pressure was tremendous, and the personal risk was high. Worst of all, her children's education was taking a hit.

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PlantVillage's Biological Control of Fall Armyworm Impresses Attendees at Moi University Anniversary Celebrations

PlantVillage's Biological Control of Fall Armyworm Impresses Attendees at Moi University Anniversary Celebrations

Written by Mercy Achieng

PlantVillage Kenya made a significant impact at the recently concluded Moi University Eldoret Kenya anniversary celebrations. The event, themed "An Inspiring Legacy: Embracing Technology and Innovation for Sustainability," attracted a diverse audience of government officials, farmers, and students. At the heart of the celebrations, our team of dedicated scientists proudly showcased our groundbreaking parasitoid innovation for the biological control of Fall Armyworm (FAW) in maize crops.

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Meet Simon Kitol: The Farmer Fighting to Reclaim His Land from Invasive Prosopis Shrub in Kenya

Meet Simon Kitol: The Farmer Fighting to Reclaim His Land from Invasive Prosopis Shrub in Kenya

Written by Mercyline Tata

Prosopis juliflora, also known in Kenya as Mathenge, is wreaking havoc across tropical regions, particularly in Kenya, where it has spread from the Great Rift Valley to the coast. This non-native plant is blocking access to vital resources and depleting already scarce groundwater. Introduced to Eastern Africa in the 1970s with the intention of providing wood, fodder, and controlling erosion, it has since become a menace. Its relentless spread is now leading to the loss of grazing land, water shortages, reduced biodiversity, and health problems.

 

PlantVillage has teamed up with local farmers in areas severely affected by mathenge for a land restoration project. The key innovation is employing the community to clear the invasive plant using backhoes to remove stumps, power saws for cutting, and manual chopping by the community. The plant is then turned into biochar, a carbon-rich material that improves soil health. This project not only addresses the damage caused by the plant but also supports farmers by providing new ways to make a living while restoring their land.

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Improving Nutrition in Narok County Through Kitchen Gardening

Improving Nutrition in Narok County Through Kitchen Gardening

Written by Dennis Avokoywa.

Narok County, predominantly inhabited by the Maasai community, is located on the leeward side of Mount Kenya, exposing the area to arid and semi-arid conditions. 

 

The area's harsh climatic conditions affect the availability of rainfall, which is crucial for practicing agriculture, a scenario that has forced the community to rely heavily on livestock for their dietary needs, resulting in nutritional deficiencies, especially among vulnerable groups like children and women.

 

Lack of a balanced diet resulting from exclusive consumption of animal products has led to malnutrition-related diseases such as kwashiorkor and marasmus. 

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PlantVillage to Establish 3,000 Soil Bunds as Project Enters Phase II

PlantVillage to Establish 3,000 Soil Bunds as Project Enters Phase II

Written by Dennis Avokoywa.

Following the harvesting of Cenchrus ciliaris grass seeds from 2,500 soil bunds established in 2023 by PlantVillage field officers in collaboration with the pastoral community in Northern Kenya, the organization has begun phase II of soil bund digging. 

 

This time, the aim is to dig over 3,000 soil bunds by the end of April.

 

The soil bunds initiative in Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit, and Baringo counties is part of the Warrior View Project funded by Google and aimed at restoring the rangelands, combating soil erosion, and promoting grass growth for livestock fodder.

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Trees for Money and Food: How PlantVillage's Agroforestry Initiative is Transforming the World

Trees for Money and Food: How PlantVillage's Agroforestry Initiative is Transforming the World

Written by Dennis Avokoywa

On this year's International Forests Day, it's crucial to acknowledge PlantVillage's dedicated efforts in advancing food security, employment opportunities, and contributing significantly to combating the climate crisis.

PlantVillage has positioned itself as a leading force in transformative initiatives aimed at bolstering global efforts to safeguard and expand forest coverage, an endeavor that not only safeguards food sustainability but also provides sources of income for disadvantaged families. 

Utilizing cutting-edge AI tools like the PlantVillage app, the organization has spearheaded vital projects which include the production of biochar, cultivation of high-value fruit tree seedlings, and comprehensive farmer training programs. 

These efforts are pivotal in ensuring the sustainability of tree cultivation, particularly on farmlands.

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PlantVillage Empowers Kilifi Farmers with Onion Cultivation Training for Climate Adaptation and Economic Growth

PlantVillage Empowers Kilifi Farmers with Onion Cultivation Training for Climate Adaptation and Economic Growth

Written by Emmy Neema

To unlock resilience and prosperity in the face of changing climates and economic landscapes, PlantVillage has set up efforts to improve farmers' livelihoods in Kilifi County through diversifying farmers traditional practices such as maize farming.  

 

The organization has endeavored to equip farmers in the region with necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in onion farming. Through hands-on training sessions, four farmer groups in Malindi, Magarini, Kilifi North and Kilifi South sub-counties have been empowered with the expertise needed to navigate every stage of onion cultivation, from seed selection to cultivation practices.

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African Youth Empowerment in Surveillance: PlantVillage Ethiopia Training Towards Sustainable Crop Monitoring

African Youth Empowerment in Surveillance: PlantVillage Ethiopia Training Towards Sustainable Crop Monitoring

Written by Emmy Neema

To empower farmers through AI-powered pest and disease identification, PlantVillage Ethiopia team recently received training on PlantVillage AI. In addition to the AI tool, the team learned about the PlantVillage observatory platform. The platform allows them to monitor and manage data on crop threats effectively.

 

The training aimed to build the team's capacity to monitor biotic and abiotic threats to crops and improve their problem-solving skills by sharing experiences across countries. 

 

The three-day training was conducted by experts from Kenya and Malawi. Stella Amakove, PlantVillage E-Extension Lead, and Chrissy Awali, PlantVillage Field Officer-Malawi, led the training, which included practical and theoretical sessions along with insightful field visits to banana farms. The purpose of the visits was to strengthen early detection and rapid responses to emerging threats such as the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV), safeguarding livelihoods.

 

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PlantVillage Empowers Women: Celebrating International Women's Day 2024

PlantVillage Empowers Women: Celebrating International Women's Day 2024

Written by Dennis Avokoywa.

As the global community unites to commemorate International Women's Day 2024 under the theme "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress," PlantVillage stands at the forefront, showcasing its commitment to empowering women through diverse projects.

 

One notable initiative is the agroforestry project, which has not only educated pastoralists in Northern Kenya on tree planting as a mitigation effort against climate change but has also provided employment opportunities, enabling them to earn extra income for sustainability.

 

Under the expansive Warrior View Project, generously funded by Google and in partnership with the County Government of Samburu through KFS, PlantVillage established a tree nursery in Maralal. This strategic move aims to bolster tree cover and crops, effectively countering the region's adverse impacts of climate change.

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