ROSE OCHIENG, Jiinue Organic Farmer Group

Jiinue Organic Farmer Group, Emuhaya Sub County
Tel: 071 130 64 15

To many subsistence farmers SOFDI means a lot in their life, but to Rose it is a hand that God gave her when she had lost all hope in her life. When her husband died in the year 2001, life gave her no reason for happiness. With a family of three children and a quarter of an acre of land in a village where no one cares about each other, Rose had decided to seek and serve God for the rest of her life and to wait for her last day in the world. In 2002, her only son also died and she remained with two daughters. Life was very hard.

It was on a Sunday in 2013 while in church as normal, a day she will never forget in her life. On that Sunday morning it was announced in the church that SOFDI was coming to conduct a training on Sustainable Organic Farming that reduces the cost of production and improved harvests.

Rose was trained in 2013 and immediately after the training, she decided to change her way of farming in her1/4 of an acre piece of land where in the past she used to plant only maize and harvested a mere 20 kg of maize. Using the new techniques trained on and applying her first compost she already managed to harvest 180 kg of maize during the long rainy season. She could also harvest African Leafy Vegetables from seeds given to her after the training.

In 2014, she was identified as one of the beneficiaries of ESVHA (Vulnerable Farmer Support Project). SOFDI hired for her ¾ acre of land and provided her with inputs for the long rainy season. On her own land, she planted indigenous vegetables (ALV’s), sorghum, millet and tissue cultured bananas with the seeds, plantlets, she had received from SOFDI for free.

She stopped from working for other people for food and employed herself on the land that Sofdi had hired for her. She planted maize and sweet potatoes during the long rains and managed to harvest 4 bags of maize and sweet potatoes which earned her enough to buy 16 iron sheets for her house which was in a desolated condition. She stored them in a neighbor’s house. During the short rainy season she planted soya with the seeds given to her by SOFDI. She sold part of the harvest to SOFDI and again bought 10 iron sheets with the earnings.

In 2015 during the long rains Rose planted maize intercropped with common beans and managed to harvest 7 bags of maize and 36 kg of beans. Part of it she used for family consumption, part of it she sold on the market to buy 10 more iron sheets. During the short rainy season she planted soya and harvested enough grains enabling her to hire ½ acres of land since the leasing period of 2 years was over.

In 2016, on the land she had hired herself she planted maize, harvested 6 bags and sold 3 bags and used the money to buy the additional materials needed for her house like poles and window frames. By now Rose had acquired enough material to renew her roof and put in iron window frames. During the short rainy season of the same year she planted soya again, harvested 140 kg and sold 100 kg of which she used part of the earnings to pay for labor to repair the house.

She now has a good house and enough food to feed her family and still remains with surplus to sell to support her granddaughter in school. Rose says “SOFDI made me be accepted in the society, I now have a good house with a proper roof and windows and I am no longer worried of theft cases. I plant bananas, indigenous vegetables, soya, and sorghum to feed my family and we don’t experience hunger any more at any given time”.

Rose never misses church. According to her, God came to her through SOFDI when she had taken refuge in church.

One bag of maize is 90 kg.

This story was written down by one of our field staff who interviewed Rose. It has been slightly edited.