Sio river dikes - and farms in Bunyala-Busia

PLUS-K in Bunyala-Busia -I

There is some information about and NGO that has promoted Vetiver System for on-farm use in Busia County, but for more than two years working in Busia County (PALWECO) Elise did not find anything concrete about this.

Neither had the trip in 2008 (with Hon. A. Namwamba and Hon. N. Shaaban) resulted in any realisation on the ground for dikes. There is great scope for this, as is seen for example in Vietnam in half a dozen coastal provinces it can be very good on dikes, also on black-cotton soil.
But while waiting for this to sink in, we move on, to farms.


Starting with the good old seeing-is-believing-farmer-field-trip: some 30 farmers from across Busia went to see the farm of Paul and Eunice, who had greatly expanded the use of Vetiver on their farm, initially planting it wrongly (on top of contour banks), and later on realising that that soil movement was not necessary, they self-corrected the practice, dumping the contour banks for Vetiver hedges that are easier to establish and maintain, less space-consuming, and with advantage of fodder for animals or thatch for roofs.
Following this the PALWECO programme let PAFID promote the use of Vetiver as integral part of their Conservation Agriculture package.

Initially the small on-farm nurseries were not all that successful: supplies were limited and rains stopped unexpectedly early, so in 2012 another round of supplies was necessary and even that was a modest amount of plants to only a few farmers (those that were engaged in PAFID's Conservation Agriculture project).

From then onward one could see a few farmers doing outstanding well, including Christian Makokha from the Bunyala Environmental Self-Help Group, who had been interested in Vetiver System right from the start, when he visited the farmers in Mbale in 2011.
He engaged PLUS-Kenya in an other on-farm soil conservation assignment of his, in the Mau (that project has its own page), where he met up with Elise, Jane, Caleb (see page Rongo) and Boaz (see page Isinya). He then had the benefit of Rotary Club Tubbergen funding (5,500 KSh) to re-supply his own nursery and now he has access to large numbers of plants (from his own and a nursery in Siaya that was supplied in the 2009 NEMA project).
Add to this his active and useful participation in two trips to Lodwar (see page Lodwar), one to Bududa/Uganda (Rotary funding 3,500 KSh) with Jane (see page Bududa), to discuss an upcoming project for landslide mitigation, and a meeting with the planner of two roads projects in Uganda (an excellent opportunity to put Makokha in place as supplier and possibly overseeing works under supervision of Alain Ndona from DRC, the certified expert for Vetiver System on roads who was flown in to assure much needed backstopping for these two roads projects: a unique opportunity.

TVNI decided he was indeed eligible and he is the second person in Kenya receiving the TVNI certificate for Vetiver propagation and training for its use on-farm.

PLUS-K Biogar Innovations Nyanza

Biogi is an NGO closer to Kisumu (not in Busia County) and they train farmers on biogar farming and surprise: they had a lot of Vetiver as well and had a good use for it; their understanding of Vetiver System was further improved in a meeting and with that Feddy Wafula can rightfully be placed among the 'Vetiver champions'.