Our soil is our capital asset and we treat it as if it were gold dust. We have always conserved our soil through best agricultural practices, but for the past 5 - 10 years we have set ourselves higher targets. We want to do better, and do good, rather than less bad.
Our target is to have robust soils that deliver nutrients to crops and livestock, that require minimal chemical fertilizers, that retain moisture, that are stable, and that have high microbial activity.
Coping With Acidic Soils
Kenyan soils are known for their acidity, so we have been spreading lime annually for the past ten years. We are gradually reducing tillage to minimise soil disturbance and decrease compaction. We continue to rotate our crops and all of our manure is spread on the fields. We also plant cover crops annually so that the soil is never bare. In this way, we hope not only to mitigate climate change but to contribute to sequestering carbon in our soils and play our part in reversing it.
As a result of these practices, we were able to reduce our chemical fertilizer application by half in 2022, whilst retaining our usual high yield in maize. Our crops were more resilient to the long periods of drought, and we have even found earthworms in the soil—a sure sign of soil health and a milestone in our brittle environment.
We want to share our experience with other Kenyan farmers and are determined to make regenerative agriculture the norm in Kenya through our training days at the Bubayi Centre of Excellence.