Organic technology extension and promotion of initiative centre (OTEPIC) would like all farmer collaborators to develop the capacity to utilize locally-available resources so that the land resources they have can produce more food and family income more sustainably. This will lead to people living normal and active lives. Lifelong effects of insufficient food can be devastating, especially among young children. This affects their potential for productive adult lives.
OTEPIC emphasizes a knowledge-based approach focused on the strategic management and utilization of organic inputs, as well as use of adapted varieties, improved agronomic practices and crop diversification. OTEPIC trains farmers on principles underlying biological soil fertility management, as well as on specific technologies that can help them to increase crop production. OTEPIC follows up the initial workshop-based training by facilitating farmers to conduct technology verification trials, where farmers experiment with specific technologies. Experiential learning helps farmers to internalize technical knowledge by providing farmers with the opportunity to screen specific technologies on their own farms.
All Farmers are trained in permaculture. However, before any group or community is selected for any training, a participatory rural appraisal exercise has to be carried out. This approach enables the group members to present, share and analyze their knowledge and conditions of life, in order to update and keep in tune with what people really want.
Trainings are carried out through demonstrations and group lessons, individual farmer follow-ups, farmer-to-farmer exchanges, the development of training materials and continuous monitoring and evaluation.
Nuni – trainer:
“The expectation was that 120 people would come to the workshop, but we had 250 participants. When they were shown the demonstration site where kales, spinach, and maize were planted without chemical fertilizers they could not believe their eyes.”
Kevin kirwa, farmer:
“I never knew that maize stalks can give a good compost, we just used to burn the materials after harvesting maize. I used it in the short rains season to plant my one acre farm and harvested 1350 kg of maize where I used to harvest only 80kg of maize. My family is now food secure and we can save our little income from vegetables.”
Susan Kennor, farmer: “From the Pemacultire training, my life has not been the same again. I managed to start 10 double-dug beds which has improved my life. From the sale of the vegetables in the gardens I get Kshs. 1,000 per month for my family.
Janet, 71 years old, takes care of two grandchildren, and is now earning approximately $20 per month. She told us ‘There were times before when we slept on empty stomachs. But now, “thanks to God, at least I know I have food, seed, and some money. And somewhere someone cares about us.’”