Wealth in the Village: Case study Mr Brian Owade, Kakamega County
Brian Owade youthful farmer aged 27 years, married with 2 children. He hails from Kisa West ward, Khwisero sub-county, in Kakamega County. He is a member of Ebuhala B group which is composed of 32 members of which 26 members have been profiled under the Christian Aid, African Leafy Vegetable Project implemented by ADSW. Initially, Mr Owade lived in the urban Centre (Kisii town) where he used to undertake casual jobs with a meagre salary of KES 6,000/= per month, which he spent most on food and house accommodation (rent) with no savings.
In 2016, he came back home to Khwisero sub-county, Kakamega County to do farming. During the rainy seasons, Mr Owade used to put his 0.25-acre piece of land under maize and vegetable production (especially, kales, cowpeas and black nightshade). Despite, adopting the newly acquired skills he faced the challenges of extreme weather variation and market glut on vegetable production hence acquiring an income of KES 4,000 per month.
He joined the Ebuhala B farmers group, which was later profiled in 2018 by ADSW, where they benefitted from the agricultural training on various topics namely: nutritional benefits of all ALVs; Good agricultural practices of ALVs in terms of right seed selection, land preparation, use of fertilizers and planting (achieved through on-farm training), Good crop management practices such as thinning and piecemeal harvesting for longer yields, Importance of seed harvesting, seed bulking, diversification in farming as a strategy in adoption to climate change for instance, integration of livestock farming and vegetable production, drought-resistant crops and early maturing varieties.
Slowly, Mr Owade started to engage in various enterprises like poultry keeping, ALVs production, root tuber production, fodder production, dairy cattle and goat. His diversified farm became a learning centre which offered diversified options of technologies where other farmers adopted good agricultural practices.
Subsequently, his income increased from the sale of planting materials (seeds and seedlings of assorted vegetables at an average KES.12, 000 monthly in 2019, KES. 18,400 in 2020 and KES. 26,000 monthly in 2021. Looking at this long rain season, Mr Owade apportioned the entire piece of his land under assorted vegetables (Black nightshade, spider plant and leaf amaranth) and fodder production. He also acquired an additional 1 acre of land through leasing where he has established maize intercropped with beans.
The earnings from these ventures enabled him to expand his enterprises. For instance, he has been able to expand to own 2 dairy goats and 1 German alpine breed for cross-breeding and poultry production of 300 birds. He bought 4 vertical bags at KES.4000 for vegetable production. Integration of livestock production, enabled him to get organic manure for his crops, thus increasing his yields and reducing production costs. The farmer has also been able to purchase a second-hand motorbike valued at KES 50,000 to enable him to market his produce, access agriculture services and run other household errands. Mr Owade also ventured into upgrading local goat breeds through his improved breed at a price of KES. 150 per service. Cumulatively, Mr. Owade has been able to upgrade 30 local goat breeds and has gotten over 7 kids from the parental stock of which he has sold 5 kids a KES. 6,500. Mr Owade’s family has been able to have food intake of high nutrition content from the leafy nutritious vegetables, goat milk, root tubers, other crops and animal products within his farm. The family eats diverse and quality diets right from their farm hence reducing incomes spend on buying food. Mr Owade sits with his wife and smiles, he looks at his farm and says, “There is wealth in the village and I am a family man, look how healthy my wife is”.