Food Heroes – securing our future’s food security by transforming our food systems and ensuring fair food for all

It is widely recognized that smallholder farmers, majority of them women, account for a significant proportion of food production worldwide. This means that they are an important fabric in the achievement of zero hunger by 2030. It is also alongside these smallholders that we can build a world that is better prepared for the next crisis. A world in which every person has enough, safe and healthy food – not only in times of crisis, but every day.  

Vi Agroforestry, works with smallholder farmers in the region who have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve zero hunger and realise the right to food. We call them ‘Food Heroes’. Read their stories below!

Meet Monica Aoko, a widow, living with her three children, two boys and a girl. She owns 3.5 acres of land and is a member of Bondo Boarder Women Group, affiliated to Miriu Integrated Banana Cooperative Society – a partner of Vi Agroforestry. “Before 2018 there were no bananas in this village, because the soil here is rocky and community members relied on cassava production” says Monica. “In early 2018 however, she attended a training from the Cooperative Society, after which she was  issued with 20 banana seedlings. With only 20 seedlings Monica has managed to increase the number of stools from 20 to 67. Through sustainable agriculture land management (SALM) trainings that she received from her organization, with support from Vi Agroforestry, Monica has also diversified her farm to include cassava, mangoes, pawpaw and several agroforestry trees. On average, Monica obtains Ksh 38,400 (340usd) from sale of bananas, which has enabled her to pay school fees for her daughter in college and her two sons in secondary schools. In addition, she has been able to meet her family’s basic needs and save regularly in their village saving and loan association. 

Monica Aoko_MIP 

Thobias Beinegula is spreading information about agroforestry to his local community and encouraging tree planting in farming as a natural defence against climate change effects. “For sure my life has changed, after sensitization and training in tree planting from Vi Agroforestry”, says Thobias. In the past, before i planted trees, I had the problem of strong winds knocking down his bananas. But after planting planting tree together with other crops on the farm the problem is over, he added “Every year we experience the same problem, even yesterday there was a strong wind but when it blew it passed over and my bananas were safe”, says Thobias. Thobias started planting trees on his farm in Kayanga Region as part of the Emiti Nibwo Burola project in 2011. This year marks his tenth year in the project, he has now established a woodlot and is successfully protecting his crops using a boundary planting technique shown to him through the project. “I got bumper harvest to the extent that my neighbours and passers-by, were saying that they were superstitious and it is a miracle that I have produced this much. But this is not true. This is the result of agroforestry practices”, says Thobias.  

Food Hero_Thobias_Beinegula, Tanzania

In Lugari, Western Kenya, Florence and Noah Nabutete are smallholder dairy farmers. They are seven people, 3 males and 4 females, in the household. The couple owns 4 acres of land, on which they have fodder, dairy cows, bananas, millet and agroforestry trees. The couple belongs to the Lukomu Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society. In 2016, the Government of Kenya, through the Department of Livestock Production, supported them to establish calliandra shrubs for goats. However, when Vi Agroforestry began working with them in late 2020, by promoting adoption of shrubs for improved milk production, the Nabutetes’ realized that calliandra was also an important fodder for improving milk production. From their two cows, the couple now supplies an average of 40 kilos of milk through their cooperative, giving them an average daily income of Ksh. 1,200.    

Florence and Noah Olubero, Kitale Kenya