The solution to address food insecurity in the county lies within its borders. With the right support, smallholder farmers, who contribute 75% of total agricultural production, can feed Kenyans with healthy and nutritious food that is grown ecologically. Ecological farming is not a new practice; it combines local farmers’ knowledge with the most recent scientific research to increase yields without negatively impacting the environment. Some of the smallholder farmers in Machakos County are already practising it, and are able to defy challenges of climate change, which are compounded by the arid and semi arid conditions.
“The smallholders farmers in Machakos have the potential to make the county the breadbasket of Ukambani region. With the right guidance from the county government, these farmers who are mostly women could contribute more towards food security in Kenya,’’ continued Njehu.
Agricultural productivity in Machakos is generally constrained by a number of factors – among them high cost of inputs such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides and hybrid seeds. Limited extension services, over-dependence on rainfed agriculture and lack of markets are other challenges.
To address the ongoing challenges, the Machakos county government needs to urgently shift funds away from industrial agriculture and support ecological farming. Such an action will increase farmers’ income, build resilience and empower local farmers. This will break the cycle of dependency on large quantities of chemical fertilisers and pesticides and address the multiple challenges facing small-scale producers.
“We call on the Machakos County government to put in place policies that promote small scale farming and ensure sufficient budgetary allocation towards supporting ecological farming,” concluded Njehu.
Notes to the Editor:
● Click here to to read the Chakula cha Afya Policy Brief
● Petition to the Machakos County Assembly can be found here
Hellen Dena, Communication Officer, [email protected] Mobile: + 254 717 104 144