Busembe Horticulture Self-Help Group is based at the Busembe Sub Location in Bwiri Ward, Samia Sub County, Busia County. The group has a membership of 18 (8 ft, 10 m) and was started in the year 2012; it comprises mostly youth ranging in age from 19 to 28 years, with only 4 members above the age of 30 years. The group’s major economic activity was fishing along Lake Victoria to realize quick money, and they attested that due to degradation within the lake, the fish population had dwindled, forcing them to stay for longer hours just to manage a stock of 20 fish valued at Ksh 3000/=. They continued to face fishing challenges, including being arrested by Ugandan forces due to cross-border fishing, and attacks by hippos in the lake. The boda-boda group (motorbike riders) testified that they could not meet the daily agreed-upon Ksh. 300 to submit to the owners of the motorbikes. These reasons made some of the youth think of alternative income-generating activities, hence joining the group to venture into the farming industry

It was not easy to start farming one youth claimed, because colleagues kept on teasing that the work they were engaged in cannot earn them enough money and was meant for the older generation. The year 2015 was a turning point for the group when the Conservation of Conservation Agriculture project through ADS Western had contact with the group during the community sensitization meetings at the Chiefs Barazas. The group benefited from regular visits and capacity on the Conservation Agriculture curriculum and learnings through demonstration plots, field days, trade fairs, workshops and exchange visits to other regions.

The group started growing tomatoes along the lake under irrigation using a generator that they acquired through fundraising and individual member contributions. From an acre under conventional agriculture, the group used to harvest between 50 -75 crates of tomatoes of 60 kg each.

 It was until the introduction of CA that the group incorporated the minimum tillage practice with planting stations, manure and mulching for enhanced productivity. Production of tomatoes from an acre went up ‘abnormally’ to 250- 300 crates in season. This was regarded as an ‘abnormal harvest’ since they had not even reached 100 crates under conventional farming. Each crate of tomatoes was sold for Ksh 2000–2500, leading to increased incomes among the group members.

Today, more youth are attracted to the group after realizing the benefits the group is reaping from the tomato industry. They are encouraged to form their groups to revolutionize tomato growing along the lake. As a way of practising crop rotation, the fields in which tomatoes are grown, are rotated with cereal crops such as sorghum or legumes to break the pest and disease cycle. Currently, the tree nursery has Over 10, 000 tree seedlings expected to earn the group Ksh.100, 000/= during the current planting. The Net effect has been improved income generation among youth, maintained soil fertility, reduced soil erosion and Striga weed incidences, accessibility to environmentally friendly planting tree seedlings and improved nutrition.

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