Jibana, Kaloleni - Kaloleni is in Kilifi county which is one of the six coastal counties in Kenya. It is also one of the homes of the Miji Kenya who dot the Kenya coastline. The numerous lush palm trees in the area add immense beauty to the surroundings. It is here that 30 women of the Pwani Ufanisi Cooperative College benefited from the KEPHIS annual Sustainability activity. The group received 1,200 tomato and lemon grass seedlings, a drip irrigation system and a shade net.
Some of the women of the Pwani Ufanisi Cooperative College
The tomato seedlings were planted in the shade net while the spice was planted in the open field. KEPHIS Mombasa regional office trained the group on how to grow the tomatoes using the drip irrigation system including planting the seedlings under the holes in the drip pipes and also when to water the plants. A green house is not suitable for this agro ecological zone hence the use of the shade net. The tomato variety is also good for this agro ecological zone. The group was also tasked with looking for a market the the produce before growing any crop; in this case, the tomatoes have market in Kilifi and neighboring Mombasa county; the lemon grass is targeted at the export market.
Pwani Ufanisi Cooperative College received 1,200 tomato and lemon grass seedlings, a drip irrigation system and a shade net.
Tomatoes planted in a shade net donated by KEPHIS to Pwani Ufanisi Cooperative College
The soil where the crops were planted was tested at the KEPHIS analytical chemistry laboratory and found to be suitable to grow the crops.
At the event, KEPHIS MD Prof. Theophilus Mutui noted the importance of changing the outlook of agricultural production. "We need to adopt climate smart agriculture where we produce more crops with less," he said. He acknowledged that weather patterns had changed, hence the need to adopt better ways of producing food. This includes using irrigation which if utilized, the water is available all year round and can go a long way in conserving water.
He also appreciated the cooperation between KEPHIS and Kilifi county noting that the Kenya Constitution 2010 devolved agriculture to the counties.
Lemon grass planted in the open field at the Pwani Ufanisi Cooperative College.