Cecilia Mupa (centre) with PlantVillage Dream team officers Agnes Kadzo (left) and Mercy Kadzo (right) during a visit at her farm in Milore.
“I started maize farming in the year 2020 and the crop was thriving despite the aridity since I could harvest upto 25 bags in a season, however in 2022 I faced a lot of challenges including elephant attacks leading to no harvest,” she stated. Cecilia observed that through the immense crop destruction she was able to come up with a sustainable idea to ensure food supply in her household.
Her decision was a game-changer. She embraced the cultivation of onions, tomatoes, kale, and okra, all of which have proven to be more resilient against the elephant menace. These horticultural crops not only flourished but also found immense favor within the local community. The demand for these fresh and nutritious produce soon skyrocketed, and Cecilia was at the forefront of meeting this demand.
Freshly harvested onions from Cecilia's farm.
“When I began onion farming in a quarter acre piece of land I noticed elephants do not cause intense damage to this crop compared to maize, I also cultivated other horticultural crops due to the high demand of vegetables like okra, kale and eggplant by the community. The demand also led to expansion of the onion farm from quarter an acre to two acres where I intend to harvest 30 tonnes,” Cecilia said. She observed that Ganze Sub-County, being an arid area, growing vegetables has provided her with income through selling her produce to locals and transporting onions to the market in Kilifi town.
To overcome the water scarcity challenges that have long plagued her region, Cecilia tapped into a nearby water source—a water pan. She uses this water source to irrigate her crops, ensuring they receive the moisture they need to thrive. Her dedication to water management not only ensures a consistent supply of fresh produce but also sets an example for other farmers facing similar issues.
Milore water pan.
“Onions need sufficient water especially when the seedlings are in the nursery. Since I live near a water pan, I bought a pipe that we share with the community to irrigate our farms,” she noted. However, the water source is not enough to sustain the community and livestock; therefore, I use shallow basins to grow onions. She expressed her gratitude to PlantVillage for providing her with knowledge through extension services that aids in managing her farm.
In addition to her personal success, Cecilia Mupa is on a mission to inspire and empower other farmers who practice irrigation in her region. She firmly believes that embracing high-value crops can be a transformative experience for anyone facing similar elephant attacks challenges. “I advise and encourage fellow farmers to embrace high-value crops farming, which promises to not only enhance our livelihoods but also contribute to the community's economic development on a larger scale.”
Cecilia's journey from adversity to success is a shining example of how innovative farming practices, resilience, and community support can drive prosperity even in the most challenging environments. In the face of aridity and elephant threats, Cecilia Mupa stands as a testament to the power of determination, adaptability, and a commitment to nurturing the land for a brighter future.