- Learning Network
Challenges · Agroforestry · Food Security · Livelihoods
Beans, Coffee, Cotton, Livestock, Maize, Potato, Sugarcane, Tobacco
Bungoma County is located along the foothills of Mt. Elgon in western Kenya. The dominant agricultural system is subsistence agriculture with maize, sunflower, sugarcane, coffee, tobacco, potatoes, beans, and cotton being the main crops. Livestock production is also practiced. Bungoma is home to many stakeholders groups that have been collaborating within the landscape around issues of land fragmentation, water scarcity, pollution, poverty, deforestation, and soil fertility.
Bungoma is also one of the sites for the World Agroforestry Centre’s Strengthening Rural Institutions (SRI) Project, which builds the capacity of smallholder farmer groups through a participatory process.
I am a social scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). My area of work has focused on rural institutions analysis and capacity development among smallholder farming systems in East Africa. I have been involved in capacity needs assessments and developments for sustainable land management practices among farmer organizations. Bungoma is one of the sites where ICRAF and partners have conducted capacity development interventions with farmer groups involved in livelihood improvement initiatives and also conducted policy dialogues at the landscape level for integrated natural resources management with EcoAgriculture Partners.Douglas Bwire Research Fellow, World Agroforestry Centre
The SRI Project collaborated with EcoAgriculture Partners in 2014 to facilitate a county policy dialogue process in Bungoma. This county landscape policy dialogue forum revealed some critical landscape issues that need policy initiatives by the county government. These issues included land fragmentation, pollution, and environmental degradation especially through poor agricultural practices. The report has been shared by major stakeholders and is likely to trigger county policy initiatives.
Several stakeholders are working in Bungoma to improve agricultural production and value addition. These include Nalep/ASDSP-stakeholder collaboration, IFAD–Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP), Strengthening Rural Institutions (SRI), and Smallholder Horticulture Marketing Programme (SHoMaP). There are also training activities in the area: Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), livestock disease control, clean milk production, promotion of technology on improved fodder chopper, trench-hay baling, green house production, and organic farming methods. Landscape stakeholders also participated in field demonstrations on livestock nutrition, pasture and fodder production, livestock management, and commodity value addition (Milk, Bananas and Tomatoes).
Activities implemented in Bungoma are chosen based on participatory planning processes. These processes include: Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs), BBS, PAPOLD, and SWOT-analysis. For instance, the World Agroforestry Centre's SRI project involved the groups and site level stakeholders in developing site action plans.