In some parts of Kenya, the rainy season is getting shorter, causing drought. When rain does come, it sometimes falls during severe storms that cause floods and crop damage. That’s making farming more difficult than it was in the past.
Daniel Wanjama is co-founder of Seed Savers Network, Kenya. The group trains growers to select and save seeds with erratic weather in mind.
“One of the most important aspect[s] of selection is selecting the fastest growing, by identifying the first one to flower,” Wanjama says.
He says fast-growing plants can reach maturity within a shorter growing season, before a drought sets in.
The group also encourages farmers to avoid growing just one crop. Wanjama says planting a single crop makes farmers vulnerable, because too much – or too little – rain can wipe out a harvest.
So he suggests farmers grow a diverse range of crops that thrive in different conditions. For example, Wanjama says that if maize withers in a drought, farmers could still harvest sweet potatoes.
“If sweet potatoes do not grow because the rainfall was even less, we could have cassava,” he says.
So he says these methods could help Kenyan farmers protect their livelihoods in a warmer future.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media