- Farmers entered into contract with hoteliers
- Hotels start reopening in Naivasha
Naivasha farmers engaged by hoteliers for supplies are hoping that the Covid-19 curfew and movement restrictions will be eased to save their produce from going to waste.
In the next couple of weeks, the farmers will be harvesting fresh produce worth thousands of shillings despite the closure of hotels around the town due to the pandemic.
This came as it emerged that the lives of the peasant farmers in Moi Ndabi area of Naivasha had changed positively following the introduction of modern farming methods and ready market.
Under the Green horticulture at Lake Naivasha (GOALAN) project introduced by WWF, the farmers have reduced the usage of pesticides and entered into contract farming with hoteliers in Naivasha for their produce.
According to Elizabeth Wanjiru from Momaki Horticulture group, they had turned the semi-arid area in to a haven of green produce due to a change in farming methods.
She said that for years, they had relied on donations from the government every year before WWF introduced them to use of certified seeds, drip irrigation and minimal use of pesticide.
Speaking during a tour of the farms, she said that under the project they had entered into contracts with hoteliers on the supply of their produce.
“Currently we are about to harvest tomatoes and cabbages but our worry is where we shall take it as hotels have closed down due to Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
And ahead of World Safety Day, she said that their produce was free of drug residue as they were using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to contain pests within the farm.
“In the past we could spray without plans but following training we are now using crops like onions to keep away pests and this has improved the quality of our produce,” she said.
This was echoed by another farmer Florence Muthoni who said that their lives had improved and they could manage to educate and easily feed their families.
She said that under the GOALAN project, they had discarded the traditional farming methods and they were seeking markets first before engaging in growing various crops.
“We fear that the closure of hotels due to Covid-19 pandemic might affect us but we are happy with this new farming method that has completely changed our lives,” he said.
The chairman Lake Naivasha Water Resources User Association (LANARUA) Enock Kiminta said that the project started with Payment for Environmental Services (PES) in the upper catchment area.
He said that since the project started in 2018, tens of farmers had benefited through provisions of green houses, water pans, reduction of post harvest losses and a ready market.
“We are working with other partners in the project that includes soil testing, reducing usage of pesticides and intercropping and this has worked wonders,” he said.