Here in Kapenguria, most farming households associate the month of August with the harvesting of beans and we at Jitokeze have not been left out. Before closing for the August holidays, our tailoring students who have also been trained in Bio Intensive Agriculture had a busy time harvesting the beans that had been planted in May this year, they will consume these beans during 3rd term that begins in September.
This beans production process begun for us last year in September, when we leased about 3.5 acres of land for growing food to feed the students taking the tailoring training in our Income Security Program. In March this year we engaged in land preparation and waited for the rains to come before we could plant anything on the land. In May we planted beans on 2.5 of these 3.5 acres and maize on the 1 acre remaining. In August when we harvested the beans we managed to get only160kgs of beans from 2 acres leased about 2 kilometers away from our center and 120kgs of beans from the 1-acre of land that was leased right next to our training center. These harvested beans are far much less than we would normally have harvested if the rains had come on time and in sufficient amounts, besides the challenge of rain, our bean harvest was also compromised on one location because we used uncertified seeds, the location where we used certified seeds had a much better production rate and thus we made the decision to always use certified seeds in the production of food for our training center. Based on the previous term’s consumption patterns, we estimate that these combined beans harvest will be sufficient to feed the students during this 3rd term, however we anticipate that we will need to purchase maize from other farmers in order to meet the consumption demand of the students at our center, because at the moment the students consume much more that can be harvested from a 1 acre piece of land, because of this we plan to lease more land this year for next year’s food production.