Farmers in various areas in Kilifi including Kizingitini, Arabuko Sokoke, Sosoni Mzee wa Zaidi and others were recently trained on biochar production and drought management. The training aimed at ensuring farmers enhance soil fertility and productivity as they prepare for the next farming season.
Kizingitini Farmers Field School during biochar training.
Speaking during the Kizingitini Farmers Field School meeting, Ms. Veronicah Achungo, an agronomist from Dream Team, urged the farmers to embrace the use of biochar since it is organic and does not contain chemicals. “Biochar is cheap since the process of making it does not incur any cost, one can make it using dry coconut husks, maize stalks and other crop residues,’’ she said.
Ms. Achungo also stated that biochar can store carbon in the soil for 1000 years increasing soil fertility and productivity. “Biochar retains water therefore once you use it in your farms it will help in intensifying soil moisture,” she stated. She also advised farmers to undertake the process of making biochar away from their farms to not harm other soil nutrients.
Kilifi County Lead Ms. Mercilyn Tsuma addresses farmers in Arabuko Sokoke.
“You can charge biochar using organic manure such as animal waste,” stated Ms. Mercilyn Tsuma, Lead Kilifi County while training farmers in Arabuko Sokoke. She also added that once charged, biochar should be stored in a cool area away from sunlight for it to absorb the manure. Ms. Tsuma further encouraged the farmers to use biochar while preparing their farms and during top dressing.
Mr. Allan Nzaro, Lead farmer Kizingitini area commended PlantVillage for being a trustworthy organization and urged his fellow farmers to join the organization to enhance food security. Ms. Janet Mbitha a small-scale farmer in Arabuko Sokoke attested that she used biochar while planting trees on her farm and they are healthy compared to her neighbor’s farm.
Farmers in Arabuko Sokoke being trained on the process of making biochar.
“I thank PlantVillage for providing knowledge to us. Through the training offered we can start making biochar in preparation for the long rains season,” said Mr. Samuel Safari a farmer in Arabuko Sokoke. He further encouraged other farmers to embrace biochar since it does not affect plants.
Farmers in the region were also trained on agroforestry and drought management as additional practices to mitigate the ravaging drought affecting the county.
By Emmy Neema.