Small scale agriculture employs, feeds and affects the majority of people’s lives in the country. Therefore, improving productivity and employing sustainable farming practices will have a significant impact on the overall food security and environmental conservation in Kenya.
Small scale agriculture in Kenya is usually done on small pieces of land. In these farms, oftentimes both of plants and animals are kept. And in most cases the produce is for subsistence and the surplus is sold for income.
80% of the rural population derive their livelihoods from small scale agriculture. By transforming small scale agriculture from predominantly subsistence into a modern, sustainable and more productive form of agriculture, we can greatly affect the lives of farmers and communities who account for the majority of the people in the rural areas.
Innovation and improvement of simple technologies like water harvesting, conservation tillage, better seed management and post-harvest handling will improve output and conserve the environment. Crop diversification and introduction of drought resistance crops has had a positive impact on income and food security as in the residents of West Pokot through the Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika white sorghum value chain project.
Many rural homes have farmlands and livestock, most common animals in West Pokot are cattle. Cattle are known to be some of the biggest methane emitters. Employing new uses of animal and plant wastes will conserve the environment and reduce carbon footprint. One way of doing this is the use of bio-digesters, households that use bio-digesters will reduce methane emissions and reduce the pressure on forests for firewood and charcoal.
Use of sustainable and improved agricultural techniques will increase output and conserve the environment. These include inter-cropping, adopting of agro-forestry practices among others.
All these and more ways of strengthening small scale agriculture will ensure that we attain food security in a manner that is sustainable and kind to the environment.