Rieti Agricultural Training Project (Bondo, KENYA) provides informal training in sustainable agriculture to women in the rural community of Bondo, which has been devastated by HIV/AIDS, taking the lives of many local men and leaving women & youth behind to care for their families. This past year, Rieti indirectly served 300,000 people, by continuing to ensure small kitchen gardens to families and employment on the farm, as well as by giving the crops to some of the most needy in the community.
With the assistance of the McCarthy Family Special Funds, coupled with generous financial support from a German donor, Rieti built an irrigation system in 2011, allowing the local residents to tackle the primary challenge of drought, which occurs repeatedly during the year. A water pump was added to improve the irrigation process in 2012.
The demonstration farm at Rieti continues its activities, by holding trainings on a variety of sustainable farming methods, given the drought conditions in the region. These include sack farming, which refers to growing plants in tall sacks filled with soil, and mandala farming, a sophisticated garden allowing farmers to produce a wide variety of complementary products in a small space. Sack farming is especially impactful for areas, where the soil is not healthy, and enables planters to continually relocate.
At Rieti, these methods are used for corn, bananas, kale, cabbage, and herbs. The goal is to teach families how to grow crops for their own consumption, while also generating a surplus of marketable vegetables that can be sold for additional income. The Project also added more farm animals, especially cows, and increased the production of dairy products, which are distributed in the local community.
Goals & Projections
Rieti aims to expand the variety of crops grown, in order to ensure that there is enough harvest to support the community throughout the year. The weather continues to be challenging, as the seasons have been extreme, either severe dryness or abundant rain, so adding additional watering systems is needed in order to fully maintain the land.
The Project also needs funding for the purchase and upkeep of the equipment, such as water tanks and sprinklers, and for covering the workers’ wages. Finally, it is looking to improve the farm trainings, purchase more animals, such as hens, and construct feeding & drinking troughs.