On the Ground with: Kilili Self-Help Project (KSHP)

Investing in local farmers in Kenya

Kenya—a country of nearly 35 million people—presently produces less than 50% of the food that its population needs to survive. Much of the agricultural land has been depleted by years of chemical-heavy industrial farming, and small-scale growers were long ago forced out of business by cheap subsidized imports from Western nations. Without a strong local agricultural economy, Kenya's people are at the mercy of international market prices for food, and when prices rise, the poor go hungry.

Building a movement for food sovereignty

A grassroots NGO called Kilili Self-Help Project (KSHP) is working to reverse this problem, reducing Kenyans' dependency on imported foreign crops by promoting local, sustainable farming that helps communities feed themselves. KSHP has taught more than 100,000 local growers to implement ecologically sound farming methods that produce more food on small pieces of land, to reverse declining soil fertility, low crop yields, and the downward spiral of poverty that has been consuming Kenya's poor rural class. 

Simple methods make a profound difference 

In 2008, with AJWS's support, KSHP trained and monitored more than 2,000 farmers—half of whom are women—in the use of simple, nature-based techniques like composting and organic pest control. These methods have enabled them to turn exhausted land into fertile food-producing ventures. KSHP also helped its members launch a commercial business producing nutritious porridge to prevent malnutrition and fortify the immune system against diseases like AIDS. Through this and other projects, KSHP has enabled farmers to become self-sufficient, feed their families nutritiously, improve family health and raise the standard of living for the entire community. 

Hunger prevention fast facts:

  • KSHP has trained more than 106,000 farming families since 1989.
  • KSHP's bio-intensive farming methods have been proven to produce more food on small pieces of land, using 80% less water and 50%-100% less chemical fertilizer.
  • The average cost of training a Kenyan farmer to use these techniques is only U.S. $3.50.

Voices of Change:

"I was idle and jobless. The only piece of land I had, I thought it was useless. But now, after putting the training to use, I see that it can be profitable. My life will never be the same again: I am now a farmer on my own land."

—Patrick Mwangi, farmer

"It was nice to note the family of 8 can live on a small piece of land. I noted that it is possible to get 16 bags of maize from an area of 900 square feet. Normally this is produced on an acre on most farms in Kenya. I am planning to replicate what I saw in my rural village in Nyanza."

—Douglas Aringo, farmer

 

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89gGuI8nDMY 89gGuI8nDMY 16_9 /hunger_old/grantees/kshp/kilili_self-help_project.html

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