Farmers in the country are yet to embrace organic farming.
This is a kind of farming crop and livestock production with the involvement of more than just choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones.
Since the beginning, this kind of farming was designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock, and people.
It can be argued that the primary objective of this kind of farming is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.
One will always prefer this type of agriculture after extensive research about the pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional farming and their effects on human being.
Organic farming has been practiced in Kenya though by small farmers others preferring doing conventional farming due to profits from the use of synthetic chemicals.
Some of the areas practicing organic farming are Nakuru and Kericho. On our way to the area, we met with a farmer who practices farming in her 5-acre piece of land near Nakuru town.
“I researched about pesticides and fertilizers and what I found out confirmed my fears. I did not like how all these chemicals affected human beings. I believe in organic,” she said.
The farmer has been doing organic after realizing the effects that come with conventional farming.
“Having discovered the damage pesticides could do to the human body, I couldn’t allow myself to sell people poison,” Sylvia says.
Previously, a research done by Teagasc Food Research Centre, in Ashtown, Ireland, revealed that crops grown without using toxic chemicals contain about 20 percent more flavanols. Flavanol is well known for its ability to act as antioxidants, protecting the cells from aging effect and illnesses such as cancer.
Many specialists have emphasized on the need for eliminating the use of synthetic chemicals and allow plants to grow naturally preventing humans from many risks.
Notably, growing organic vegetables for consumption will significantly increase the number of fresh foods you serve your family.
It is advisable that a farmer who intends to invest in this venture selects the preferred crops strategically less undergoing so many expenses buying lots of unnecessary stuff such as fancy planting containers and hybrid seeds.
Farmers intending to do the kind of farming will need to learn weed management, improving soil fertility and keeping pests away without the use of chemicals.
Some of the crops that can be grown include spinach, kale, onions, carrots, maize, indigenous vegetables, beans, tomatoes, coriander, garlic among other plants with the demand said to be higher than supply.
However, the yields of each organic crop vary, depending on the the farmer. During the transition from conventional to organic, production yields are lower than conventional levels, but after a three to five year transition period the organic yields typically increase.
Organic farming can be a viable alternative production method for farmers, but there are challenges involved.
One key to success is being open to alternative organic approaches to solving production problems.
Determining the cause of the problem, and assessing on the strategies to avoid or reduce the long term problem rather than a short term fix for it is important.