Staff orientation and planning meetings
The project kicked off by holding internal meetings geared towards staff orientation, to reflect and deliberate on the project implementation strategies. This was followed by the field officers reaching out to communities, making partnership links with Provincial Administration, Ministry of Agriculture and other Non-state actors within the project site.
Baseline survey was successfully carried out and data entry, analysis and interpretation were finalized. This was preceded by the design of the study methodology, development of data collection tools, pre-testing of tools, training of enumerators and actual field work. In total, 670 farmers were interviewed across the six targeted clusters i.e. Vihiga, Sabatia, Hamisi, Lurambi, Emuhaya and Butere.
Establishing demo plots and Training of Trainers (ToT)
Setting up of demo plots was done with the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture. The demonstration plots are group-based, and not run by individual farmers. In the first season, there were five demonstration plots per sub-location in Vihiga, Sabatia, Hamisi, Emuhaya, Lurambi clusters while Butere had six (Totaling 155). In the second season, 10 mother demo plots have been established in each of the six clusters (Totaling 60), and the rest (95) have been retained as baby demos.
Farmer information centre
A Farmer Information Centre has been set up at the field’s head office in Mbale. Infonet–Biovision has already trained one ROP staff on farmer information management, and continues to offer seminars to some of ROP’s staff. Farmers are now accessing current bulletins on ISFM through this information centre, with the assistance of Mr. Thomas Mutuli.
Soil Sampling and analysis
Soil samples from the entire155 demo plots were collected and analyzed, with a revelation that most of them were acidic, with pH ranging from 3 to 5. Expert opinion was thus given that farmers should use SSP Fertilizer and CAN in their demonstration plots.
Training of Model Farmers
Training was carried out in line with the project goals and objectives, primarily on scaling up and scaling out proven and innovative ISFM systems, all tailored towards enhancing smallholder incomes and Food security and Nutrition in Western Kenya.
Stakeholders’ forums and field visits
ROP has been active in attending various stakeholders’ forums across the six clusters.
First season harvesting and data collection
Harvesting and data collection was done in all the clusters and fresh samples for cob and stover collected during harvesting were taken to KARI laboratories for determination of dry weight.
A successful field day was organized by ROP in Emuhaya cluster on Mr. Leach Inyambuko’s farm, where various farmer groups and individual farmers showcased various farming techniques and harvests.