SEED SAVERS NETWORK PROMOTING AFFORDABLE INNOVATIONS FOR SMALL SCALE FARMERS

 KeFAAS transformative agenda is pegged on its objectives, and one of them  is to identify and upscale best practices and innovations in extension service delivery. Seed Savers Network is a KeFAAS member that has come up with  innovative measures to promote biodiversity in crop production and ecological farming. The organisation is working with smallholder farmers to improve seed access and agro-biodiversity conservation. The network headquarters is in Gilgil Sub-county, Nakuru County and has worked with over 50,000 farmers across Kenya. Its programs include seed production and saving at farm level, climate smart  agriculture, capacity building and advocacy for food security.

Smallholder farmers face reduced income due to drought, diseases and pests; and land degradation, forcing them to struggle to find the best and affordable agricultural inputs to address these problems. In addition, these farmers livelihoods are affected due to overuse of inorganic fertilizers. In Africa, these are some of the challenges that prevent smallholder farmers from improving production and gaining competitive access to markets.

In view of this, Seed Savers Network has embarked on promoting the use of liquid organic fertilizer  that enable small scale farmers to produce vegetables in improved multi-storey and hanging gardens which require up to 50% less water. These technologies are ideal for farmers with small pieces of land and especially for urban and peri-urban farming. Different crops can easily be intercropped in these gardens.  

The aim of making liquid manure is to quickly provide a crop with adequate natural plant food during the growing season. Liquid manure is ready for use after two or three weeks compared to six weeks or more for compost. The liquid manure which is made from bio-slurry or animal manures supplies nutrients fast. It is also ideal when plants are grown using the improved technologies indicated below.

 How to make liquid manure

You will need the following materials and equipment’s

  • Manure(bio-slurry ,chicken, rabbit droppings or a mixture)
  • A container a drum or half a drum (bucket) for small quantities
  • One small bag or gunny bag
  • One strong rope and pole.

 

Procedure

  1. Put the farm yard manures , chicken and any other animal manure (a mixture) in a strong sack or gunny bag with 50kg of manure for one drum of water .fill it in such way that you can tie the top of the bag secured.
  2. Suspend the bag containing manure in a container full of clean water .The bag should be tied securely with a rope and suspended on a strong pole placed across the top of the drum.
  3. Leave the manure (liquid manure) to stand for 14 days. Cover the drum to prevent excessive evaporation.
  4. After three days and every other day thereafter, stir the liquid in the drum. For liquid manure stir by lifting the bag several times using the pole.
  5. After fifteen days the water will have turned blackish and most of the plant food (nutrients) in the manure will have been dissolved into the water. Remove the bag
  6. Dilute the contents of the drum 1:2 (to one part of the liquid manure or plant tea add two parts of clean water). Spray the crop at the base and not at the leaves