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News from the field - FACASI

The farm power & Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI) project marked its first year of activities in Kenya and Tanzania in March 2014. Twelve months ago the project was launched in Arusha Tanzania and we spent quite some time planning and discussing what activities should take place within the first year.

Since then, several participants have joined the project team, while others have left. Most encouraging was the presence of service providers and a local inventor at the planning meeting held in Nanyuki, Kenya - one of the project sites. We also had a colleague from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) join us for the first day of the planning meeting and the field trip.

This project is working with scientists, business specialists, mechanical and agricultural engineers, farmers and inventors. It has the potential to move the communities applying the business models move from sustenance farming to income farmers. One year on the project has already identified the best bet technologies for testing in Kenya, while Tanzania is a bit behind due to complications encountered during importation. The two countries had many lessons to share during this meeting and there was opportunity for cross-pollination of ideas.

Mr Muruiki (left) and Mr Mutie (right) also known as the "Fitarelli brothers" make their living as CAfarmers and service providers in the region. Mr Muruiki also trains draught animals for farmers all around the country. Mr Mutie attended the entire FACASI planning meeting and shared his experiences on the ground

On the second day of the meeting we had the opportunity to visit a farmers’ cooperative in Laikipia known as Buuri Cooperative society, who have donated their grounds for on-station and on-farm testing of the equipment. The farmers had many questions to ask of the project team and were eager to start using the equipment during the incoming long rains of March to July.
Kenya sees the potential of creating hubs to provide services around the FACASI equipment while Tanzania will have a different model. Since this is a research project we will have to wait and see what model works best where and impact it will have on the farming communities who often have to face hunger seasons every year!










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