Adding trees to a mixed farm
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CTA. 2004. Adding trees to a mixed farm. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/03. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57223
Virginia Wangui Njunge, a mixed crop/livestock farmer shows Eric Kadenge how she is growing fruit and other beneficial trees on her farm near Nairobi.
Adding trees to a mixed farm Cue: The benefits of mixed crop and livestock farming are well known. Livestock produce manure which can boost soil fertility and crop production. Those crops produce by-products, such as maize stover, which can be used to feed the livestock. Planting trees on a mixed farm can increase whole farm productivity even further, particularly if farmers are careful in their choice of species. Eric Kadenge recently visited a farmer in Kikuyu division, not far from Nairobi, who has introduced a wide variety of tree species to her farm. Having discussed her use of agroforestry, Eric also spoke to the extension officer responsible for Kikuyu division, and sent us this report. IN: ?I am standing on a two acre.? OUT: ?. even the watering and caring for them .? DUR?N 6?34? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: John Kibuika ending that report from Kikuyu division near Nairobi in Kenya. The farmer Eric spoke to was Virginia Wangui Njunge. Transcript Kadenge I am standing on a two acre farm in a place known as Muguga that is about 20km west of Nairobi. And right now from where I am standing, there are some nice and healthy-looking cattle on my left, there is also some cabbages, some sugar cane, some arrow roots and a number of fruit trees and many other trees on this farm. And today I will be talking to a lady who practises mixed farming, and she will be telling us more about her farming and the trees especially and of what benefit they are to her. Wangui My names are Virginia Wangui Njunge. I am a retired teacher, I do farming - mixed farming - I keep cattle, I also grow fruits like avocado, guavas, I also grow apples on my two-acre land. I also grow beans, tomatoes cabbages and sukuma wiki.[Kale] Kadenge Well that sounds like quite a large variety of crops. Now next to us is a tree that has got some bright and broad looking leaves. Let's start with this one. What tree is this? Wangui This one is an avocado tree. I have two trees and they give me fruit, which I sell and get some money. Kadenge Okay let's move on now to these other smaller looking trees. What trees are these? Wangui This one is the apple tree. It has been grafted and it gives me fruit as you can see them and I sell them. Now they have been flowering. You can see some have got fruits also they have got flowers. You can see that there are no weeds. So I always pull the weeds so that they can do the flowering nearly all the year round. Kadenge And what fruit is this that we have here right now? Could you just pluck one? Wangui Guavas. They are fruits, I also sell some and children use the others. Kadenge Okay. And this certainly looks like a mango tree is it? Wangui Yes it is a mango tree. It has now taken two years, but it has not started giving fruit because it was not grafted this one. It failed the first time but I am planning to do it again. If I graft it, it will give me fruits soon. Kadenge Now are all your fruit trees grafted or some of them are not? Wangui No they are all grafted - all of them. Kadenge And what was the reason for grafting them? Wangui To make them start flowering soon instead of taking long time so they flower quickly when they are grafted than when they are not grafted. Kadenge Now earlier on we saw some cows just as I was entering your farm and you have talked about manure. Do you get your manure from the cows? Wangui Yes. I get a lot of manure from those cows because I have zero grazing so I get a lot of manure from there. Kadenge And do you mix the manure from with cow with any other manure - maybe from the vegetation on the farm? Wangui Yes I do because I have got a compost pit so I get the manure from there. Afterwards I put some weeds and all the leaves, the dry leaves, and so I mix them and then spread them on my farm. Kadenge Okay let?s walk over to the other side of the farm. Now we are walking down to an area where there are eucalyptus trees being grown, but just before we get there, we have some grass here. What grass is this? Wangui This is Napier grass which I use to feed my cows. Kadenge I notice that in between the Napier grass there are some small seedlings. What trees are these? Wangui Grevillea. Kadenge And what is the benefit - why are you planting this tree on your farm? Wangui They give food to the cows and also it helps my farm - I have planted it where it is not very fertile. Kadenge So it also is able to enrich the soil fertility? Wangui Yes it is. Kadenge Okay let?s move nearer to the eucalyptus trees. Wangui Yes these are the ones which I have planted on half an acre. Kadenge And the benefits of the eucalyptus to you? Wangui They grow very fast and also they will give timber and also firewood and that is why I have planted them. Kibuika My names are John Kibuika. I am an extension officer in Kikuyu division. So my work is to co-ordinate extension activities in the division whereby there are livestock, there are crops, that are grown and all rely on extension. Of course when I mean crop/livestock farming it also encompasses agroforestry. Kadenge Yes, in fact I was going to mention right now I can see something that looks like a seed bed. Could you just explain to us what little trees I am seeing here are and some of their benefits? Kibuika We have a number of different type of trees. Like we have the Grevillea robusta. They are fast growing, they are also very good for wood. They also provide the foliage part of it. The leafy part of it are fed to the animals during the dry period whereby we have nothing to give to our animals. They are also very good in soil fertility because of their leaves fall quite frequently and they decompose very fast. So they also improve soil fertility. We also have another tree called the neem tree, which are good for medicinal value. They prevent and also heal malaria and other diseases. We have the Eucalyptus, the blue gums, which are very fast growing especially this variety from South Africa which grow within five years, they mature within five years. And we get poles from them, also they are very good for charcoal and they are also very important in preventing soil erosion. Kadenge And so are you involved in making sure that such nursery beds are taken well care of and made in the right way? Kibuika That is actually our work. We had a demonstration sometime back whereby we showed them the way to go about making a nursery just from the beginning. The way to lay a nursery bed, filling the poly tubes and of course even transferring the small seedlings to the poly tubes and of course even the watering and caring for them. End of track.
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