GATAGANI FARM

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TRAINING FARM - GREEN ACRES

Gatagani was a very dry barren area, when we first visited here in 2006, with little rains and famine a huge problem.  We visited the school, and witnessed the poverty among the community.  To our amazement the River Tana ran alongside this area, and yet the people had no water to drink, and no food to eat.  An opportunity arose for the SCKP to purchase some land, and in December 2011 we set up a two acre training farm.  We have employed LIEP (Living Environment Program) to run the farm, and train the locals in the best farming methods for the area, and to date the food that has been harvested has been amazing.  A small water pump was put in place, pumping water onto the farm.  It is our hope and prayer that we will be able to develop the farm, and grow, providing food for the whole community and further afield.

EXPANDING THE FARM

April 2014 David Gourley, formerly from Newtownards, took over management of the SONshine Farm, GataganiTharaka.  In May 2014 we finally received the water permit, in theory! The government survey stipulates the necessary infrastructure to be built before the permit is validated, at a cost of around £160,000. We have explained that we do not have the funds to complete the infrastructure at this time but will do it in stages, as funds become available to us. They are happy with this proposal.  We are aiming to irrigate 10 acres by the end of 2015. 

The initial 2 acre training farm is being utilised to provide food for the children at Gatagani Primary School, a group of 20 elderly people (85 years & over) and community workers who work on the farm. 

The perimeter of the 70 acres has been cleared so the farm boundaries are clear.  A further 26 acres has been cleared and the first crops harvested last month.  Most of the workers have opted to work for 10 days and receive a SunKing mobile solar light with phone charging capacity or work 15 days to receive a SunKing Pro2 solar light with phone charging capacity for 2 phones, instead of receiving money. This can be split with days of working for food, as and when requested.  All farm labourers receive a good lunch when they are working for us. 

Another 10 acres has been cleared by the community.  The harvest from this is to be used for the benefit of the community – no individual is to gain from it – with a percentage of the profits going back into the farm. 

30 acres of greengrams and 6 acres of cowpeas were planted.  We had an agreement to sell the greengrams for export to Tanzania but there was insufficient rain and the harvest wasn’t as bounteous as expected.  Thankfully we were able to find another buyer; a large supermarket chain throughout Kenya.  They were delighted with the quality of the greengrams and will consider further business  with us.  The exporter was also fully satisified with the high quality and would like to be considered for further business when we can produce a higher yield. 

With the proceeds of this sale we will build a pump house for the large pump (the small pump already being housed), purchase 2 cows and a plough (these can be rented out to other farmers when we are not using them), and purchase piping to extend the irrigation (costs will dictate how many acres). 

The next harvest will be in September when we hope to build a storehouse, toilets for the workers, fencing to keep the hippopotami away from the crops and more pipes to extend the irrigation yet again. 

We are at a stage now where we need to consider hiring more full time staff, but it is necessary to find sponsors for these salaries until the farm is fully set up and becomes self-sufficient. 

We have verbal pledges of full support from the various Government offices, including the Governor.  The Department of Agriculture has promised regular visits from an Agriculture Officer who will give advice on the best farming technics for each crop, and we have been in contact with Farm Concern International who has all the expertise we need to take the farm forward.  They are planning to take a small technical team out to the farm to assess the environment so they can advise on business plans, man-power requirements, linkages to markets for sales and the supply of subsidised agro chemical inputs. 

 

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pumping water from the river
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This local has worked on the farm, and has earned a new Solar SUNKING Mobile light with phone charging capacity.  She is so delighted with because it is going to improve her quality of life, and help her children with their studies.  

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Donations for the Farm

can be made via Paypal and

will help provide work for the

 community and this will

 subsequently improve their

 lifestyle and help provide a

 better quality of life.

 NEW TO GATAGANI FARM 

From September 2015 we decided to introduce a small herd of goats to the farm, and an area was set aside and an enclosure built.  We bought 20 goats, including one male and in February we had our first kid born on the farm.  We hope that over the next few weeks to almost double the herd.  

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The Local community helping to prepare cowpeas. 

 A Growing Community

On our last visit to Gatagani, it was amazing to see the difference.  The people looked healthier, and a new local market had been established.  The roads to Gatagani were improved.  Even the local school had several more paid teachers.
All in all, we were delighted to see how even this small 2 acres of cultivated land had changed lives.  What a difference could be made in this area if the rest of the land was cultivated.   
 WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!

 

LATEST HARVEST - JAN 2016

Despite the heavy rains and floods early December, January's harvest has been good:  cowpeas, green grams and other crops and herbs.  The above shows some of the crops.

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 Children from Gatagani school enjoying the bananas grown at the farm.


 A new Waterpump was delivered and hopeful this will help with the irrigation of the farm.

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