Overcoming Agricultural Problems in Kenya

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Posted on 11/5/2013
Millions of families in Kenya rely on agriculture to survive.
Millions of families in Kenya rely on agriculture to survive.

Farmers in Kenya face many challenges. From difficult environmental conditions to administrative land ownership hurdles, subsistence farming in Kenya can be hard for families living in poverty. Some farmers turned to an agricultural initiative known as the One Acre Fund to overcome these challenges, but the project has had mixed results.

Supply and Demand

One of the greatest obstacles facing Kenyan farmers is not planting and harvesting crops, but supply chain management. Although some farmers have grown impressive yields in recent years, it is not always easy for them to get their produce to market or work with regional food suppliers to ensure a steady source of income.

The One Acre Fund was designed to assist Kenyan farmers with the entire agricultural production process, from securing seeds and tools to establishing relationships with suppliers and distributors. Agriculture experts advise smallholder farmers on the types of crops to grow and help them cultivate these crops to improve yields and, ultimately, their income. By monitoring external factors, such as the prevalence of diseases such as maize lethal necrosis, or MLN, which devastated maize crops in 2011, representatives from the One Acre Fund can recommend which crops are likely to produce higher yields.

Farmers participating in the project are given advice on which crops to plant and when, largely to reduce the potential damage of outbreaks of diseases like MLN. The Kenyan government supports this idea and also recommends the rotation of annual crops. Although rotation can prove more expensive for smallholder farmers, the potential yields — and associated income — is greater, which has positively affected many families living in poverty.

Seeds of Hope

ChildFund has worked in Kenya since 1960 to fight child poverty and help families break the cycle of generational poverty by empowering them with the tools and supplies they need. One way you can help us continue this work is by purchasing a gift from our Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. A donation of $74 will give a family vegetable seeds that they can use to grow their own nutritious produce on small plots of land. In addition, surplus vegetables can be sold, bolstering families' income.

Alternatively, sponsoring a child in Kenya is another way you can make a difference in the life of a child. For just $28 per month, you can provide nutritious food, essential health care and educational opportunities to a child in need.