Life changing Story (DRYDEV)
Simon Kivunzi is a 57-year old farmer from Ndiani Village, in Waita Village, Mwingi Central Sub-county. He is a founder member of the Ndiani/Masaki Beekeepers Self Help Group which has 21 members (10 male and 11 female) who came together in 2006 as honey producers for unilateral sale as their main objective but also incorporated cereal and horticultural production at individual farms.
In 2014, when the DRYDEV Program started in the area, the group was enlisted for support in both structural investment and capacity building on various technologies to improve their farming and adoption to other farmers. Owing to his activeness in farming and a member of the group, Mr. Kivunzi was selected by the group as their artisan on soil conservation owing to his technical background on the same from a previous training.
Simon bought a bare 5-acre farm and embarked on heavy task of establishing terraces to reclaim the land with a vision of turning round the thinking that production can be maximized with the right structures in place. With the artisan training by the program, the farmer within the 4 years of hardwork has turned the thinking of the residents that all is possible and now he is the leading farmer in production of green grams and pigeon peas. The total length of ‘fanya juu’ and bench terraces is in excess of 9000 metres with the all farm well conserved and a great marvel how a focussed individual can change the landscape and mindset of so many residents who visitt he farm to gain knowledge and request for services for a fee.
To further control run-off water from the upper areas that pass through his farm, Mr.Kivunzi established a water pan with an aim of conserving the water on-farm for horticultural irrigation and animal use. With support from the program, the farmer has expanded his water pan and is benefit with a liner to further conserve water and help promote his horticultural production during throughout the year.
As at the end of last month, Mr. Kivunzi has trained and done terrace layouts for 26 farmers in the area as an soil and water conservation artisan, with more expected to request his services as the long rainy season approaches and farmers have learned from him that the farms can be made productive with the right approaches and technologies put in place.