Connecting local responses around the world
In November 2012, we became concerned about food security in our Nguuni village in kithituni community, we experienced drought consecutively as result of lack of rain for two seasons. We started talking as brothers /sisters affected, what could we do to address the problem? We realized other farmers in our neighboring communities were doing something and they were substantially addressing food security. Through visits to their farms we learnt that they had adopted modern state of technology in farming eg drip irrigation diversification of farm enterprise. We realized they were conserving water table in their rivers by avoiding those activities that could make water table go down. They had a farmer`s group. They saw it good to meet once a week to share their challenges, hopes and best practices in their farms in order to improve their lives.
Three members from Kithituni community life competence university facilitation team Lelu, Catherine and me started thinking how we could apply and introduce SALT approach in farming. We agreed to share our experiences on Salt visits, communities, families and particularly our home visit experience and our way of approach and how we behave in these visits.
One key idea we adopted was to form a group. We needed to come together as farmers to learn and share from each other to address food security in our village. ``How do we adopt these to our context as farmers? `` How do we do it? ``Lets try farm visits``, we will do farm visits every month dedicate a whole day visiting each group members farm`` we all agreed, the most exciting moment later was that we all participated because it was a shared agreement. The first farm visit (salt visit) was a bit challenge because this way of working was new to some farmers. We went to appreciate the farmers during the SALT visits and to learn from them. At the end of every farm visit most times we would sit down under a tree in one of the farms to reflect and document our after experience action, our lead questions were:
1What did we learn in the farms?
2 How do we apply best lessons learnt in our farms?
3 Who is the farmer of the month?
4 when do we do the next farm visit date and who will lead in organizing the next farm visits?
This experience helped us a lot. Stories of change were shared in the group. Farmers in the community got inspired by seeing change in the farms of our group members we received overwhelming request from other farmers in the village and neighbourhood farmers. I particularly remembers one farmer in our group saying ``I have learnt how to plant sukumawiki(a local vegetable) and how to do farm practices``
We have done a lot after our mindset shift from being entirely dependent of agricultural extension officers for their interventions to a believe that we have our experience and strengths that we can we can use to take charge our issues/concerns in our farms as farmers.
We kept learning from others, as well as others also kept learning from us. We transferred best lessons to our farms. We improved in food production and diversification as well. Group members were sharing increased income level at household and how this had improved their lives.