John Nyanja confesses that he came to farming by chance. He was doing it quite haphazardly, with no real plan or knowledge about things like crop rotation, taking care of the environment, saving water, or how to prevent soil erosion.
Now, though, he is a member of a self-help group, which is learning about agroforestry and other sustainable crop and livestock farming practices from Vi Agroforestry. He currently grows a range of crops from maize to beans, bananas, passion fruit, avocado, and sweet potatoes. John also keeps geese, goats, chicken and cows. As soon as he learnt how to make his own compost, he stopped using chemical fertilisers.
Other smart methods John has learnt include mulching, cover crops and push and pull technologies – planting one thing that benefits or repels another thing. For instance, napier grass which makes nutritious fodder for cows is also useful to push away a specific breed of armyworm.
Taken together, these sustainable practices have helped his farm grow even further. John is delighted to say that he can get a long way today with just a little effort and little rain.
Hear John explain more in this video: