Monday, February 25, 2013

Maarifa Centre information resources have boosted my farming enterprises…says Nurse.

Its early morning in Mutomo District of Eastern Kenya.At Mutomo Mission Hospital,Angela Vincent is busy irrigating her vegetable and tree nursery plantations.After this activity,Mrs.Vincent reports to her work station at  Mutomo Mission Hospital where she is employed as a nurse.

For the past three years, this has been the daily working routine for the 39 year old woman who practices farming on a small piece of land at the hospital compound.

Angela says that she got interested in farming when three years ago a Rotary club introduced a program to train the hospital staff on dry land farming and kitchen gardening.

“During this period, a demonstration farm was established so that members could learn and train community members on the initiative,” Says Angela who says that after the project timeframe was over she approached the hospital management and took over the practice.

At the 1/2 farm, Mrs.Vincent started vegetable, tree nursery  and fruit growing enterprises.This has all been be possible through use of irrigation water from Mutomo Mission Hospital borehole.“ At first, people discouraged me that vegetables could not do well under irrigation with salty water, but my vegetable enterprise has thrived , “Says a proud Angela.

Information needs

Angela understands that information plays a vital role in her projects.By the virtue that Mutomo Maarifa Centre is hosted by Mutomo Mission Hospital, she oftenly visits the Maarifa Centre to access that is relevant to her projects.

Here, she has access to Baobab and Joto Africa publications as well as other library resources that have been a great boost to her as far as information is concerned.

For instance from Baobab issue 62 on Tress and Farming on  ‘All trees need good care to grow well’ , Angela says that she got information on tree spacing which she has put into practice and has witnessed a major difference.

 

“I already have pawpaw seedlings which I am planning to plant during the April rainy season using the technologies learnt, “ Says Angela adding that apart  from reading the publications for new information, she is inspired by reading stories from people who are doing projects under the same climatic conditions as Mutomo.

“I always ask myself, if they have done it, why not me,” quips Mrs.Vincent.

ICT training

Her quest for knowledge has seen her enroll for an ICT training course at Mutomo Maarifa Centre so that she gets the necessary skills to search for online technical  information, funding opportunities as well as marketing opportunities  so that she pushes her enterprises a head.She adds that she plans on buying a laptop for this purpose.

Future plans

Angela says that from the her Agriculture enterprises she has managed to buy a piece of land near a water point where she plans to start practice vegetable and fruit growing for supplying to Mutomo Market vegetable and fruit vendors within the next two years.She adds that from the income boost her children are attending a private school which she could not have afforded otherwise.

Information gaps

Angela says she needs more information on marketing opportunities for her seedlings enterprise , the best pesticides for her vegetable enterprise as well as training on smart farming.She urges other community members to utilize the Maarifa Centre services citing that the agriculture is a viable business as far as its done as a business.

“If all goes well, I will quit my nursing job to concentrate on Agriculture,” concludes Angela.

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