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Farmer Joyce Agutu of Busia County shares on how the use of Biochar combined with homemade organic fertilizer has seen her reap quality and improved yields from her maize plantation. From the trainings she gets from PlantVillage field officers, the farmer says farming with PlantVillage has made her love agriculture as she can use a variety of sustainable farming methods to boost her produce.

Following Farmer Joyce Agutu

“Through the farm tips I get from PlantVillage, I make homemade organic fertilizer from a collection of maize stems, sugarcane leftovers, cowdung, leaves, firewood, ash and any other farm remnants. I leave them to decompose for about a week after which I pack them in sacks and use them as farm fertilizer” Joyce Agutu, following farmer at PlantVillage.

 The maize plantation is green with pride, every leaf looking healthy with no signs of pests or diseases. In an interview with her, she boasts of being a beneficiary of biochar during the planting season from PlantVillage. Farmer Joyce says that apart from biochar being affordable and environmentally friendly, it helps in retaining soil nutrients, helps in storing carbon, stays in the soil for long, boosts soil fertility and rejuvenates the soil. This can be seen from the healthy plantation.

The farmer has also learnt the art of organic fertilizer for top dressing, this she makes at her home using a liquid she extracts from a leaf, mixes it with ash, water and cow dung until it is porridge like then sprinkles a portion of the product formed on each maize plant. Farmer Joyce also uses the new technology of Fall Armyworm management using parasitoids that can attack the eggs thereby reducing the population of the pests in the farm.

 “As a farmer, the practice of organic fertilizer brings a big difference to my farm, initially I used DAP fertilizer and I can confirm that other than interfering with soil nutrients, my maize leaves turned yellowish. Since I started using organic fertilizer which is cheap and offers the best nutrients for effective plant growth, I have had improved and quality yield from my farm” Joyce Agutu, following farmer at PlantVillage.

homemade organic fertilizer left to decompose 

 Farmer Joyce now urges fellow farmers to embrace biochar and homemade organic fertilizer as it is a good approach to healthy farming.

By Mercy Achieng 

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