challenges facing organic farming in kenya

Organic farm ing in Kenya is on the rise in the recent past. Nyumbani Karen Organic farm is run by the Nyumbani Children Home in Karen. The farm manager, Paul Ndirangu, offers some insights he discovered in running an organic farm successfuly.

“To get a good production in farming, there are basics you cannot ignore in farming. One of them is irrigation water analysis..” – Paul Ndirangu

Organic Farm

Paul Ndirangu is the Farm Manager at Nyumbani Children’s Home. Paul has recently been charged with managing Nyumbani’s Karen Organic Farm – which farms organic produce for sale to fund Nyumbani Children’s home activities.

Nyumbani’s Karen Organic Farm is a brand new enterprise. And Paul’s responsibility is to make the right Agronomy decisions that will prosper the farm. To aid his farm decision making, Paul approached CropNuts to analyse and advise on the status of the borehole water used to irrigate the Nyumbani Karen Organic Farm.

“We decided before we proceed with our farming, we first of all understand the kind of water we are dealing with”

The analysis results revealed some underlying issues in the borehole water. One of them was an extremely high level of bicarbonates which could salinise the soil and reduce crop yield. So our advise to Paul was to dilute his irrigation water with Nitric acid so as to lower the high bicarbonates to manageable levels.

Irrigation Water Analysis Sample report

 Sample irrigation water analysis report showing high levels of bicarbonates in water


Agronomy Advice

Ian Mutua, CropNuts Agronomist, advises against irrigating with water with high bicarbonate levels.  Too much bicarbonates in irrigation water ‘lock’ up phosphorous and micronutrients in the soil, creating a free lime deposit that raises the soil pH. Once the free lime has built up in the soil, it is very hard to deal with. It is much better to treat the problem at source and acidify the water.

So Paul is off to a great start at Nyumbani Karen Organic Farm. He is armed with the knowledge of his irrigation water. He’s is also armed with a solution to address his borehole water challenges. Through a simple lab analysis process, Paul can now make more informed decisions with regard to Karen Organic Farm.  And better decisions lead to better production and better profit.

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About Nyumbani

organic farming in Kenya

Nyumbani is home to 120 children in Kenya. Nyumbani provides specialized care to abandoned children, especially those affected by HIV. The home was started in 1992 by Father Angelo D’Agostino. Throughout the 1990s, Father D’Agostino did lots of pioneering work in child care including importing the first batch of Anti Retro Viral (ARV) drugs to Kenya for the HIV affected orphans.

Nyumbani also has a community outreach program called Lea Toto that provides medical care to more than 4000 HIV affected children in the slums of Nairobi. To learn more or to donate to Nyumbani please click here