James Njuguna and his tomato harvest.
FARM TO FORK Yummy visits Dagoretti to explore a slice of Eden right in the heart of Nairobi, and learns more about Farm Africa’s work empowering smallholder farmers. It is a hot January day in Dagoretti but despite the heat, James Philip Njuguna, a member of the Kirigo Itura Self Help Group, is hard at work loosening soil around crops with a fork hoe. Spread out across their one eighth of an acre plot of land, the fruits of the group’s labour are clearly visible. Rows of leafy spinach sit next to capsicum vines from which large shiny green bell peppers
dangle invitingly as they await to be harvested. Next to these are empty tomato vines. “We harvested tomatoes at the end of last year, and they turned out very well,” Njuguna says in Kiswahili, his face lighting up with pride. On the opposite end of the field, grow a series of vertical sukuma wiki gardens, rows of cylindrical sack farms made up of piles of rocks, soil and manure and
irrigated using a drip system. The bounty that lays before us stands in stark contrast to the field next door, in which sickly passion vines have barely succeeded in climbing their way around the wires that stretch from one fence to the other. These vines are a reminder of James’ first attempt at farming a few years back, when he lacked technical knowhow on farming and had not yet partnered
up with the organisation Farm Africa. Farm Africa has, since 1985, been working with groups of smallholder farmers to improve their yields and the economic benefits they gain from farming. “We train the groups on how to run the farms, to practice organic farming, and to look for markets,” says Solomon Onyata, head of Marketing and Communications in Kenya. Also through the organisation’s