Visit to Eldoret

19 December 2011

Report by Greg Vine, MAF pilot based in Uganda:

I had the pleasure of flying a group to Eldoret, Kenya. The group consisted of the ZOA country director, a Dutch business couple and two Ugandan farming consultants.

The purpose of the trip was to visit a college, Bakara Agricultural College in Molo, on the fertile slopes of the North Rift Valley. We were then to visit Reverend Ham and his farming project on the outskirts of Eldoret. The aim was to gather information which would help start a similar project in the north of Uganda, in the Pader region.

learning about biogas
David explaining about animal management

Much of the first day was spent travelling. We quickly accomplished the 80-minute flight from Entebbe to Eldoret without trouble and bundled ourselves into the van for the 3-hour drive to Molo.

The college was started some twenty years ago by Franciscan monks to support the very small plot farmers of the region. It has grown to a point where around a hundred students pass through its doors each year completing various courses, from week-long courses to two-year diplomas.

On arrival we were warmly welcomed by the staff and the mission was outlined. The team wanted to know as much as possible about what had worked well for students and what challenges the college and the farmers had faced over the years. After a period of Q&A we were shown around the grounds of the college including the educational farm areas and the student plots. The emphasis of these areas was to learn techniques that maximize the use of space – particularly useful for those with tiny farms. There were also animal management elements and bio-gas production instruction.

We then went to see the farm outside of Eldoret. This farm was born from a vision to see the local population be able to care and support itself. It offers farmers tractor services for ploughing, harrowing, seeding and spraying. The project was originally funded by the pastor himself but is now completely self-funding due to its success. Again, although the services are offered to large farms, the aim is to support the small farms, even down to a quarter of an acre. The latest reports showed increases in yields of 2-8 times. There are also plans now to provide storage options so that farmers can choose to sell when prices are more favourable.

This trip was very successful for the team and they were very much encouraged to continue with their plans for the north. I look forward to flying them again when the next steps take place in Pader.


 

 

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