It was wonderful to see the Kaswanga Community Farm again on my recent visit to Kenya, and to have the opportunity to meet more of the farm families. The current farm is approximately 7 acres on a long-term lease, of which about 4 acres are fenced and irrigated. The fenced portion is supporting 62 families with children, who each maintain a portion of the farm, and it provides them with a year round source of nutritious food.
It is our goal to expand this project to include another 80 families, which has already begun with the purchase of 7 acres of land on the lakeshore. This parcel of owned land needs to be fenced and irrigated, a tool shed and latrine built, and most importantly, a fish pond constructed. Fish will be harvested 3 to 4 times a year, and some will be sold to provide funds for seeds, fuel for irrigation, property maintenance and wages for those who work and live full time on the farm, making this farm self-sustainable. This beautiful new parcel has a mango tree and two lemon trees which are mature and producing fruit.
I arrived in Kaswanga at the beginning of the rainy season. This is the time when everyone on Rusinga Island confines their livestock (which normally run free) and grows food for one season, relying on a good rainy season for their crops. So the unfenced portions of both farms are also able to be utilized for this season. Sorghum and beans are growing on the fenced/irrigated portion, tomatoes and sukuma wiki were being planted on the remainder of the leased farm and half of the purchased land was being plowed to plant sorghum.
This has been a long process and I am very excited to move into the next phase of this project and open up our farm to so many more families who have been waiting to be involved. It is my goal to have the new farmland completely developed and self sustaining as we enter our 5th year next April. This is no small undertaking, but once accomplished, the Kaswanga Community Farm will be able to support itself. Our thanks go out to everyone who has contributed to make the farm what it is today, and to help provide the village of Kaswanga the resources to provide for their families.
Tu Kopa Moja
(We are one.)