KENYA – The Institute for Agriculture and Ecology Kenya (ICE) recently hosted a workshop in Ruiru, rallying farmers from Kiambu and Muranga to champion agroecology, a holistic approach to farming that holds the promise of food safety, increased yields, and environmental sustainability.
Martin Muriuki, the Director of ICE, emphasized the pivotal role agroecology plays in alleviating food insecurity in Kenya, reports Kenya News Agency.
Agroecology isn’t just a farming technique; it’s a philosophy that encompasses the use of non-synthetic inputs, farmer-managed seed systems, water harvesting, and waste recycling. Muriuki highlighted the diverse experiences of farmers who have embraced these practices, underlining the importance of knowledge exchange in the agroecological movement.
“This workshop is a crucible of ideas, a melting pot where farmers from Kiambu and Muranga share their triumphs and challenges,” said Muriuki.
He urged the government to invest substantially in smallholder producers and local agro-ecological food systems, envisioning a robust food web that supports healthy food production, safeguards biodiversity, and fortifies resilience against climate change.
However, Muriuki stressed that the transition from conventional to agro-ecological agriculture demands more than good intentions. It necessitates a supportive legal framework, policies, and strategies. He emphasized the need for an incentive-based system and the active involvement of small-scale farmers in decision-making processes, asserting the vital role of regular workshops in this paradigm shift.
Among the farmers sharing their success stories with Kenya News Agency, was Patrick Gathiru, a Kiambu-based vegetable farmer. Gathiru spoke passionately about how agro-ecological farming has not only reduced production costs but has also increased yields significantly.
By eschewing expensive synthetic inputs in favor of compost and integrated pest management techniques, Gathiru proudly produces and sells food untainted by harmful chemicals.
As the agroecological movement gains momentum, farmers like Gathiru are calling for more than just workshops. They seek educational support, clamoring for skills in sustainable farming practices, climate change adaptation, seed management, and conservation.
The clarion call extends to institutions of higher learning, urging them to evolve and incorporate agroecology courses to ensure knowledge transfer and the protection of the nation’s endangered biodiversity.