The roots of our work in Oyugis
In 2005, Hearts for Kenya began its farming program with a co-op created through the Kenyan government. We named it the Baker Community Project.
When we started, we had only 36 farmers producing an average of 300 lbs of corn per acre. This low crop production was the result of farmers saving seed from crop to crop for many years, and their lack of money to buy fertilizer. Many days, the farmers in our co-op were not able to feed their families.
But through the co-op, we were able to buy bulls and plows for the farmers to plow their fields. We gave them hybrid seed and fertilizer for their crops. We began an educational program to teach better cultivation practices. The farmers worked very hard and in just two years their average yields increased to 1,100 lbs of corn per acre.
Now, the farmers are able to feed their families every day. They sell the excess corn at the market to help pay for school fees, clothing and medical needs. They contribute a portion of their farming income to the co-op. Their money is helping buy seed and fertilizer for their next crop. The goal is complete self-sufficiency.
Today, we now have 150 farmers in our co-op averaging more than 2,000 lbs per acre. We continue to provide educational classes, seed and fertilizer, and have begun some irrigation projects as well. We are also beginning to grow seed corn for the farmers to reduce the cost of production.
Our ultimate goal is to support 300 farmers and have each of them be self-sufficient in growing all the seed corn they need for their crops.