Monday, June 15, 2009

G-BIACK OUTREACH AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE COMMUNITIES

G-BIACK OUTREACH
G-BIACK aims at helping poor resource farmer collaborators to respond to their food security and soil/crop productivity challenges. We work with farming communities where they are experiencing low food production. 80% of the Kenyan populations are farmers, and of these, 90% are small scale farm holders. However, majority of Kenyans sleep hungry and wake up without hope of getting food the following day. Food prices have gone up and poverty, which has long been a serious problem, is increasing drastically. People are increasingly unable to buy food, or inputs for their farms. The decline in food production is due to several reasons:
Escalating prices of agricultural inputs,
Decline in soil fertility due to continuous use of chemical fertilizers which destroy the soil
Increase in pests and diseases that are resistant to chemicals
Unreliable rainfall, scarce water sources
Soil erosion

G-BIACK center promotes simple, efficient, organic ways to increase food production and fight hunger and poverty.

Our Vision
Creating a better world by empowering communities to pursue environmentally friendly approaches that enhance a more self reliant life

Our Mission
To eradicate poverty and improve the living standard of the resource poor communities by promoting and developing ecologically viable development strategies for sustainability and improved quality of life.

Our objectives
1. To improve food production and food security at household level
2. To develop and promote strategies to improve the long term fertility of their soil among small scale farmers
3. To encourage the communities to enhance their own well being and the well being of the environment they live in.
4. To educate on awareness of sexually transmitted infections, with a special emphasis on HIV/AIDS through awareness creation and campaigns
5. To assist HIV/AIDS affected families to access available medical treatment, grow nourishing food, learn small business enterprise, and aim for self reliance.

G-BIACK sits on a one acre land which represents the average size of a family farm in our region and is a model farm for small scale farm holders. The center trains small scale farm holders on sustainable ways and methods of increased food production. G-BIACK has over 160 double dug beds, all planted with different types of food crops. There are chickens and dairy goats. An apiary and a fish pond are under construction.

SOLUTIONS FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES THAT WE DEMONSTRATE AND TEACH AT G-BIACK

SOLUTION 1: GROW BIOINTENSIVE AGRICULTURE (GBIA) PRACTICES
GROW BIO-INTENSIVE AGRICULTURE is a sustainable form of agriculture in which a small area of land is intensively cultivated using nature’s own ingredients to rebuild and then maintain the soil’s fertility and productivity.

GBIA practices are environmentally friendly, health and nutrition-promoting, economically productive and viable. GBIA farming has social benefits too. A community with families that can feed themselves well, send their children to school, and generate some income is more able to maintain peaceful relations and tackle issues they share at the community level.

GBIA practices are applicable in both dry and wet areas. They are very suitable in areas where land is scarce and plots are small, as only a small piece of land is needed to produce adequate food if it is cultivated intensively using biological materials. The foods produced are chemical free and very healthy for human consumption. Household wastes (wood ash, egg shells, food leftovers and other materials that can decompose easily) are recycled to return valuable nutrients back into the farming system.

Principles of GBIA
i) Composting
ii) Double-Digging:
iii) Close spacing of plants (“biointensive” planting)
iv). Crop Rotation
v) Companion Planting
vi).The use of open-pollinated seeds
vii) Calorie Crops (Diet Crops) and Carbon farming for soil fertility, seed and food
viii) Whole system farming

SOLUTION 2; SMALL LIVESTOCK INTEGRATION
In Kenya, it is believed that a farmer without livestock is not a farmer. However the land size constraints cannot allow farmers to keep big livestock like cows. G-BIACK has therefore taken an initiative of promoting small livestock production like poultry, sheep, goats, rabbits etc.


“One Dairy Goat per Family” Project
G-BIACK has initiated a project dubbed “One Dairy Goat per Family” targeting very poor families as well as those affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic. G-BIACK donates one goat to one farmer. After kidding, the farmer donates the first and second kids to two different farmers and the chain continues in that trend. We anticipate that in three years time, most of our farmers will own one or two goats. As a result, the farmers will be empowered to form a cooperative where they shall package the milk and sell commercially.

Why dairy goats project?
Goats require only a small portion of land
They do not feed a lot
The milk is very nutritious as compared with cow milk
The milk boosts the body immunity especially among the people living with HIV/AIDS
The sale of goat is profitable. The price of goats milk is triple that of cows


SOLUTION 3; WATER HARVESTING TECHNIQUES
Scarcity of water is one of the most serious problems experienced by our farmers and the communities in these regions. Rainfall is erratic and natural water sources like rivers are few. Many communities are far from water sources. This leads to people, especially women and children, walking long distances in search of water for livestock, crop irrigation and domestic use. G-BIACK trains farmers on simple and affordable techniques of water harvesting. The reduced use of water in GBIA farming coupled with water harvesting can make a major difference in farm productivity and viability.

SOLUTION 4: FOOD VALUE ADDITION AND PRESERVATION
During the rainy season farmers harvest a lot of food but the market price of food declines because it is in plenty. To offset this, G-BIACK trains farmers in value addition and solar food drying techniques. For example, when cassava or sweet potatoes are in plenty, farmers are trained how to make chips and package, then they sell at a higher price.

SOLUTION 5: OFF FARM INCOME FOR FAMILIES SUFFERING FROM POVERTY AND THE HIV/AFFECTED FAMILIES
Impoverished small scale farmers can benefit from having additional enterprises. This program targets mostly HIV+ women. These skills help them to acquire extra income and enable them to send their children to school. This activity is also therapeutic because it gives them rewarding, constructive occupations.
a) Clothing making: GBIACK has taken an initiative of training farmers in making clothing for sale, and for their own families. G-BIACK has 10 sewing machines for the purpose of training.
b) Basket making
c) Pottery work: using clay soil, women make pots which they sell for income

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