Mr William Businei displays dead pests during
his field trials where he used homemade agro-chemicals
in his backyard garden. Photo By BILLY MUTAI
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
|The drip irrigation Kit, exhibited by the |
ministry of agriculture, in Olmoran Division
|Bett Kipsang the Ngarua Field officer|
Addressing a group of women during a
Field day in Olmoran, Laikipia.
Friday, November 5, 2010
|Francis Kiarahu: Farmer harvesting Millet|
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
|A group of women enjoys the music and films form an ipod.|
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Olmoran is a cosmopolitan division, home to different ethnic communities: like the Pokots, Turkana, Kalenjin and Kikuyu. The field day took place at a farm in a village called Dam Samaki about five kilometers away from Olmoron trading center. Read full story
Monday, November 1, 2010
|Mrs. Kigano inspecting cassava with Mr.|
Mwaniki a member of Ngarua facal group
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
All berries are low in sugar and high in fiber. Blueberries have been shown to increase memory in lab studies, and raspberries and strawberries are loaded with ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant that seems to have some anti-cancer properties, according to the American Cancer Society. Read more.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Small-scale farmers in Ngarua are trying their best to make ends meet. The farmers struggle with unfavorable climatic conditions, but even when they have managed to produce crops, they are still faced with a bigger challenge of accessing better markets for their commodities.
For the last eleven years, Mr Kinyua have relied on small-scale agro-business. He operates a grocery at Sipili trading center and buys his wares from farmers within the area and even have to travel as far as Tanzania for other commodities that are not available locally, though some of the crops can grow in Sipili, most farmers lack the knowhow or even the seeds.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
When this happens on land, it is referred to as a tornado but if it occurs on water, it is called a waterspout.The Lake Victoria basin is among areas where this has been reported.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The arid and semi-arid areas are generally attributed, to prolonged droughts, famine, poor nutrition and many other negative attributes. Knowledge sharing with communities living in the semi arid zones of Laikipia has reversed the trend. Read full story.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Many people in dry lands knows the value of water, to say that ‘water is life’ is more relevant to them than those in higher potential areas. People here have to go an extra mile and excavate the ground in search for the precious commodity. Read full story
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
When the Ngarua Focal Group visited ''Good Shepherd's Children Home'' on a charity mission, they learned of many innovations, on arrival they shared with other members back home. When Mwangi got the information from his neighbor who had had just arrived from the trip. He resolved to fuel his vehicle and went back with the neighbor to see for himself. Read full
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Farmers in the rural parts of ngarua employs all the known techniques to ensure that they improve crops yields...Read more.
Monday, June 28, 2010
By Bett Kipsang.
Ngarua Maarifa center stands out in Sipili township as the only place you pop in and access the internet, read books, attend ICT training's and other information services free of charge. The question lingering in the minds of many people is....Read more
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Luciah Muthoni Kaguru
Water is used for different purposes at home, for example washing clothes; drinking, bathing, washing utensils and cooking. In farms plants needs water for them to grow well. During dry seasons during water is used to irrigate crops. Livestock needs water for drinking after feeding every day. Some other animals like fish live in water. If they are removed fish from water they die....Read more
You are the mother of information,
You are the source of knowledge,
And the also the source of change,
To the whole of Sipili community,
Thank you ‘BIG’ Ng`arua Maarifa. Read full Poem
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
A turkey is a large black or white kind of bird that is kept in homes as part of poultry. With good management turkeys are very productive and farmers keep them as a source of income. One can start turkey farming with only one or two turkeys. A female turkey can be reared alone then taken to the male one for the mating so that it can lay quality eggs for incubation. Read full story.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms...wikipidia’’
Sukuma Wiki is a popular Kenyan side dish that can be made out of collards or kale.
In Kenya, the plant traditionally used is a tall- growing cabbage variety elsewhere known as "walking stick cabbage" for the tall woody stalk it produces. It is often served with ugali, a porridge made from maize. Translated literally from Swahili, sukuma wiki means 'to push out the week', implying that it is a staple used to stretch the family meals to last for the week. Read full story.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
A tree is a living thing inform of a plant that grows on land. There are different kinds and species of trees growing in different part of the country. Some trees are indigenous, like pine, cider, Olive Africana Etc. While others are exotic. Exotic trees ere introduced and planted in a given area, for example, Cyprus, Eucalyptus and fruit trees. Read full story
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Ngarua Maarifa Center is located at sipili trading center, Ngarua Division of Laikipia west District. The center offers computer trainings, and various information to communities free of charge. The need to offer such trainings stemmed from the vision of ''connecting communities with knowledge'', through I.C.Ts....Read full story
Ngomongo farm is located in Sipili location of Ngarua division laikipa west district. One morning, the ALIN Field Officer based at Ngarua CKC, accompanied by a community reporter Mr. Samuel Githumbi, visited Mr' Thomas Ngwiri's farm. The farmer is a member of Ngarua ALIN focal group and have benefited allot from information disseminated at the Ngarua Community Knowledge Center (C.K.C). Ngwiri's farm is endowed with several kinds of crops; pineapple, cassava, maize, sweet potatoes, Oranges, Beans, Pawpaws, cow peas and many others. He also keeps livestock like dairy goats, cattle and poultry.
Ngomongo means ''a rocky place''. Farmers in the area must first remove stones from their farms to create space for crop production. Thomas Ngwiri have done it excellently, and he have created a nice farm, one can hardly believe it used to be rocky. Stones from his farm were more than enough for him to build a house and sold the surpluses. Even after doing that he still remained with several heaps of stones. The stones are arranged along the fence to give room for crops to grow.
Challenges and possible solutions.
Accessing, crops market is a great challenge, he has always sold his fruits at throw away prices at Sipili trading center. However he is optimistic that the introduction of e-marketing shall solve the problem. Crop pests, diseases and wild life attacks on farms are a real menace in Ngomongo! Pineapples are frequently destroyed by elephants straying from a nearby forest. ''Whenever an Elephant enters your farm, you only wake up the following day to count losses'' Says Ngwiri.
Elephants feed on the edible part of pineapples and can take time to look for the ripe ones, in the process, destroying other crops. However farmers have devised some means of chasing away the large animals by lighting fire or using a powerful touch to scare them away.
Porcupines on the other hand pose a threat to the hard working farmers. A single porcupine can feed on up-to ten to twenty ripe pineapples per night. This can be a source of great discouragement to a farmer. One day when Ngwiri was visiting a friend, several kilometers away from home. They happened to discuss the ongoing at their homes and farms. The sharing came with a sigh of relief for Ngwiri; He learnt how to trap the disturbing rodent.
The techniques of trapping the large rodents is simple. One just needs to fold a wire mesh to a Conical shape, the wire is made in a manner that the entrance is enough for a porcupine to get in, then it gets smaller and smaller towards the other end.
When the trap is ready, a farmer takes it to the hole from where the animals get into the farm. An innocent porcupine will squeeze itself into the trap, as it tries to get into the farm, and because the traps get thinner and thinner towards one end, the poor animal tries to move backwards on realized the going is not getting any smoother.
The prickles covering the entire body of the porcupine, gets trapped in the wire mesh preventing the animal from escaping. Early in the morning the farmer just goes to check the trap thus finding the animal inside.
Immediately he got the information, Ngwiri did not hesitate to try it, the results were quite encouraging', for a while his pineapples were not attacked. Once a porcupines is killed the rest can quickly sense danger and will not come to the same place again.
When he was done with the porcupines he thought it was time to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labour, little did he know that another pest in the name of wild birds, would come knocking. He discovered a wild bird which feeds on the pineapples leaving a shell of an outer covering, like porcupines the bird also feeds on ripe fruits. Mr. Ngwiri started covering the ripe pineapple using black polythene packs.
Soon afterwards the mischievous birds had discovered that, the black paper indicates where a ripe pineapple is, and their search for the fruits was even made easier. On realizing this Mr. Ngwiri withdrew from using the paper packs. Ngwiri now shares the skills with other farmer whose crops have been destroyed by the birds and porcupine.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Communities living in Ngarua are mostly agricultural producers and small scale traders. They work really hard to produce food crops for subsistence use and surpluses for trade. ''You mention direct access to commodity markets and you take their attention by a swoop'' said Sam Githumbi, a youthful C.K.C user. This is true since, for many years he has witnessed the community suffer exploitation by middlemen who buys their produce at low prices.
The introduction of E-marketing through the Agricultural Resource Platform (C.R.P) to the community therefore brings great relief to hardworking farmers whose gains are lost after changing many hands of middlemen and exploitative buyers. The portal is also called (Soko Pepe) in Swahili.
A week after my arrival at Sipili, I attended a group meeting by small scale business people who have come together to combine their efforts in addressing their common challenges. All the members in attendance were women and this could attest to the fact that women have been empowered to run their own affairs equally, as men. At first I thought it was a women's only affair, I later learnt that there are some male members, but the participation of over 15 women in attendance was impressive. The chairperson who is a man, was out on other urgent group business.
The group so called Lengo Letu Self help Group, was started over 15 years ago and has a number of 23 members . It was started solely to bring together like minded individuals who had things to do in common. At first they went round visiting each member's home to survey and inspect their farms and the activities done there . Each member contributed small amount of money . As time went by, they conceived an idea of starting a micro-finance, to enhance their small scale business activities and farming.
The 23 members contributed money to a pool, raising over one hundred thousand Kenya shillings. The amount is then advanced to individual members in form of loans repayable with a small interest, “With our small business in the market, we are able to repay the loan without chasing members up and down”. Said one of the members during the meeting.
The presence and accessibility to such a loaning facility has enabled members to start small business especially buying and selling Agricultural produce i.e. cereals, fruits and vegetables which they trade at Sipili market.
In spite of limited availability of funds, the group has worked hard beating all odds to acquire plots and developing them. The group obtain cereals from large scale traders and transporters who have the capacity to buy and transport the stuff from far places where prices are low. Maize, beans and other cereals are brought from as far as Kitale and Lodiani districts. For now members of Lengo Letu can only afford to buy in small quantities due to the small amounts of capital and lack of access to external forms of credit. They have also started practicing agri-business i.e. growing of valuable and commercial crops like grain Amaranth and fruits.
Their efforts are however faced with challenges ranging from drought, lack of sufficient capital, poor access to good markets on time, lack of access to external credit facilities and food shortages hindering smooth repayment of loans to their group's micro-finance.
I had visited them to deliver the news of Agricultural Commodity Resource platform, also called (Soko Pepe) in Swahili. The role of the CKC is mainly documenting and disseminating information into the community. On learning of the new marketing opportunity, Members of LENGO LETU SELF HELP GROUP were optimistic on exploiting available opportunities that comes with the portal to expand their economic activities and enhance their social-economic life.
“Lengo letu” is a Swahili word meaning (Our goal) it's no doubt the group was formed with the goal of uniting like minded people to join hands in the struggle to realize development and give a concerted efforts to the fight against poverty. The C.K.C was established in partnership between a local Community Based Organized (C.B.O) called Laikipia Center for Knowledge and Information (LACKIN) and a Nairobi based international Network; the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN). C.R.P is promoted by ALIN and LACKIN through Ngarua Community Knowledge Centre (C.K.C).
Some members got a chance to learn more about the Community Knowledge Center “we have been seeing the office but we have never taken effort to know exactly what takes place inside” said one woman in the meeting. I took that chance to explain to them further about the progress of the C.K.C.
The most captivating news to Lengo letu self help group was that of Soko Pepe which would be of tremendous help in marketing their agricultural produce, through creation of external linkages with other potential business associates: buyers, sellers and other service providers from other parts of the country.
Members learnt of other information channels from ALIN i.e. through journals like the Baobab and Kilimo Endelevu Africa Internet, the Open Knowledge Network (O.K.N), Computer training's , Field days, Exchange Visits, etc. They welcomed the news of the free issues of the magazines and asked me to register them so that they can be receiving them. Many promised to be visiting the C.K.C for more information.
What originally was a familiarization and orientation meeting, it turned out to be a serious involvement where a strong bond was established between the group, Lackin, ALIN and Ngarua C.K.C. However, some group members had already registered while some did not really know much about the C.K.C and services available.
The meeting was organized courtesy of one of the LACKIN's member Mr. Mwangi Kichuki who introduced me to one of the group's member. Who latter came to pick me at the C.K.C to attend that meeting. It's no doubt the rapport created at the meeting forged a good working relationship between the group and the C.K.C.
There are high prospects of success owing to the way LENGO LETU is very organized, they hold monthly meetings on the third Sunday of every month in a designated office at Sipili market . They urged me to be free to attend their meetings so as to update them on new developments since they would like to receive a lot of information on development.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
In March 2010, a student from the University of Nairobi visited and identified some books which he said were very resourceful to him in his studies. The student by the name Evan Mathangari Njaramba, browed three books namely: ‘‘Guidelines for upgrading informal settlement, A summary of key investment opportunities in Kenya and Surface water drainage for low income communities’’.
When he brought back the books, Njaramba could not hide his pleasure and satisfaction. He came with a written note as follows, ‘‘These books provided good information relevant to urban and regional planning, the course I am taking in the University of Nairobi. Ngarua CKC is therefore an important resource center for passing information to the community in order to empower them and build their capacity to do more”.