Walking into a new SAWBO year with optimism

by James Kamuye Kataru

At Kataru Concepts Africa, the passion to deliver to our communities is real. We are driven by the fear of failing to provide better practices to our farmers and we continue to invent ways to disseminate SAWBO content far and wide. The adoption of extension service provision during “farmer visits” is becoming popular in our network as volunteers share educational animation knowledge with farmers who put what they learn into practice.

In Bungoma County, Rose Sumaili Opala, who is our lead volunteer for a team of 50 active farmers using SAWBO content and the deputy team leader of the national network, has taken farmer visits to the next level with a zeal that can be emulated by all. During these visits, farmers exchange ideas they watched in the SAWBO animations and correct each other where they might have gone wrong.

Left: A team of farmers in Togareni, Bungoma County. Right: Farmers Ruth and Pauline, two graduates and members of our network, who are actively engaged in farming pose for a group photo with our team. Photo credits: Gerald Akolo

When I visited these farmers recently with my team, we were taken through farms dotted with beautiful raised beds filled with indigenous vegetables including sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, banana and plantains, groundnuts, and spices. At each stop, excited farmers took their time to explain how they had watched SAWBO animations on their phones and decided to implement what they had learned with great results.

The most popular animations farmers had watched include;

  1. Sweet Potato Roots for Timely Planting Material: How to Prepare and Plant a Root Bed and Crop Using Roots Stored through Triple S Method
  2. Survival Gardening: Raised Planting Beds (in Swahili)
  3. Improved Bean Production

After noticing one farmer had a large banana plantation that bananas were ripening without him noticing, I demonstrated the animation video  “Preparing Banana and Plantain Suckers for Planting to Reduce Pests and Increase Yield and Stem Trapping to Control Weevils”  to the farmers and advised them to practice the technique on their farms.

Left: Rosemary and Rofina, a tailor and famer from our network, showing the team a vegetable garden prepared after watching the SAWBO animation on raised beds. Right: Team Leader James Kataru demonstrates to farmers how to trap weevils that destroy bananas and plantain. Photo credits: Gerald Akolo

On this extension visit, my team emphasized to farmers the need to keep accessing, watching, downloading, sharing, and discussing more educational animations during  group meetings, visits with friends, and even when walking to the market or going to the stream to fetch water. The idea is to have farmers discuss SAWBO animations everywhere safely possible.

In the new year, the network will put more emphasis on such visits because they are a true reflection of content intake in communities. It feels good to listen to farmers narrate how they watched animations and what they learned, then see how they implemented it.

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