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I, Stephen Omurakaywa Simon, SOFDI lead farmer from Khwisero  sub-county  Kakamega  county, near Misango Hills,  have  experienced  a  great  change  in  my  life, after getting  linked  with  Sustainable  Organic  Farming  Development  Initiative. My  life  has  never  remained  the  same with the  knowledge  and  skills  empowered  by  SOFDI.

As  a  farmer  they  have  moved  me  from  one  level  to  the  other  even  to  a  greater  level.I was nobody  in  the  community  but  now  I am  someone  in  the  community. I now transfer the skills that I have acquired from SOFDI  I was given freely and I also give it to the community freely.A very essential contribution SOFDI has done to my community is the provision of water through the protection of springs. Long time ago we used to suffer from various diseases like bilharzia,  dysentry, typhoid. But now we are free from these diseases.Sustainable organic farming has made my family have food throughout the year and have extra to sell to meet other family needs.

The knowledge of agro-forestry that I have acquired has enabled me to plant trees on my farm  thus creating a friendly environment around my farm.The knowledge of composting has made my farm’s yield improve every year. Ninety percent of all things that I own in my house have come from proceeds of sales on my farm; I am even not ashamed to say I dress smartly because of money I obtain from my farm after sale of produce. Before training I had no income from my farm.

My family has never again suffered from malnutrition because of the balanced diet we get from planting local vegetable.

SOFDI Economic strengthening projects:  This is another miracle. As a lead farmer I came in contact with the founder of SOFDI and I was the first  farmer  who was selected, this project has taken me very far even to greater heights I may say. They leased land of one acre for me for a period of two years and I also got support of seeds and other farm inputs.

This has enabled me to pay school fees for my two daughters and my son in secondary school until they have completed secondary level education.

Money from the sale of produce from the leased land has purchased goats, house utensils and other house commodities. The two years SOFDI  leased land for me  was the beginning of my expansion today. I am proud to say that now I am able to lease one acre on my own. I hope to be able to lease more land soon or even buy land.

On my farm I have now tissue cultured improved bananas, passion fruits and orange fleshed vines sweet potatoes which has turned my farm into a demonstration farm for the community. And not only that! Another development through SOFDI is a miracle crop: soya,  which has lifted me and my family to greater level that I did not imagine. With the introduction of Conservation Agriculture that we have been trained in  we have seen the production of maize yield improve much and I shall use this method as a tool to improve also our maize production 2017.

My three children who have completed secondary school education. My son has declared that he will take farming as his career, because farming has enabled him to get education. He is now helping me to work on the farm. In contribution of sale of soya and maize from leased land, I have developed a saving culture and with the savings I intend to build a house either by the end of year 2017 or early 2018

Thanks to SOFDI staff who has helped me to grow to this greater heights they have helped me on my farm to move to a such a level that I did not imagine that one day I could reach.Congratulation to Mr. Martin and the field staff who have molded me and made  follow-ups on my farm to make sure everything is okay.God bless Madam Brigit and her family for extended support that has made our life’s better lead.

Joyful farmer Stephen Omurakaywa Simon Ebushirika farmers group

Comment from SOFDI: Stephen has a hardworking, wonderful wife, Njeri, who contributes greatly to the family’s economic growth.

Njeri, Stephen’s hardworking wife