On a serene Friday afternoon, Mr. Awueyo tends to his flourishing cassava farm, a testament to the clean SS4 variety cuttings he received from PlantVillage's groundbreaking program. Launched in seven counties and benefiting 350 farmers, this initiative aims to strengthen the value chain and boost cassava production.
Undeterred by the midday sun, Kennedy's love for the farm radiates from his every action.
Farmer Kennedy tending to his cassava farm
“I weed this cassava plot every two weeks because I know there is beauty and a sense of fulfillment in a healthy farm. Since I received clean cuttings from PlantVillage, I have abandoned the ones I used to source locally. The clean cuttings have a good germination rate, and that’s why I am putting into place every agronomic practice to ensure a bountiful harvest,” he says.
Having honed his farming skills for a decade, Kennedy's compound has transformed into a verdant paradise. Alongside cassava, he nurtures maize and beans, while a delightful assortment of pawpaw, bananas, mangoes, and avocados adds an enchanting touch to his home, enclosed by graceful Grevillea robusta trees.
Kennedy's farm of cassava, maize, beans, fruits and vegetables
In his backyard, a flourishing vegetable garden thrives, brimming with an abundance of fresh veges.
“Stocking up on fresh produce grown from the yard means having more food to enjoy for weeks, even months, without spending a lot of money on store-bought vegetables. Growing vegetables is also eco-friendly,” Kennedy explains with a smile.
Guided by PlantVillage's dedicated research and extension officers, Hesbon Bosire and Evans Kipruto, Kennedy has embraced climate-smart techniques in cassava farming. Utilizing surplus cuttings, he has established a nursery bed for seed multiplication, fostering entrepreneurship, and providing readily available cassava plants from which cassava cuttings can be prepared for distribution to farmers within the locality.
Cassava nursery bed for seed multiplication
“Discovering PlantVillage has been a defining moment. I am now confident with my farm practices and encouraged to plant cassava and other crops on a large scale,” notes Kennedy while admiring his well-weeded cassava farm.
To further enhance his farming prowess, Kennedy has embraced the PlantVillage Nuru application. Leveraging this innovative tool, he conducts surveys on his crops, swiftly detecting diseases in cassava, sweet potatoes, beans, and pawpaw. Moreover, Kennedy understands the immense benefits of organic manure. Enthusiastically, he tends to his compost pit, diligently disposing of farm waste to produce homemade biochar, a powerful organic amender.
Picture showing Kennedy's compost manure and him using the PlantVillage Nuru application on the farm
“Hesbon and his colleague Evans are great teachers. They have enlightened me about biochar fertilizer and how it has the potential to enrich the soil. I have been collecting farm waste such as corn husks, grass, and leaves and mixing them to make biochar with the field officers,” he adds.
Kennedy Awueyo's success story is a testament to the transformative impact of PlantVillage. Through its democratization of farming knowledge and technologies, the organization has empowered smallholder farmers like Kennedy to soar to new heights, fostering sustainable agriculture and ensuring a brighter future for all.