Kenyan Farmer: On Cusp of a Biotech Revolution
Farmers have good years and bad years. Here in Kenya, however, the good years never seemed quite as good as they could have been and the bad years have felt worse than necessary.
It’s because we can’t take advantage of tools that farmers in much of the developed world take for granted: genetically engineered crops, often referred to as GMOs. In many countries, they’ve transformed farming, helping farmers contend with weeds, pests and drought. In my country, Kenya, we’re still languishing in the 20thcentury, waiting for the arrival of this 21st-century technology.
We may in fact be on the brink of embracing innovative technology for agriculture, but the long and winding road to this welcome destination has been full of frustration and false starts. We’ve been at it for an entire generation. Africa already faces plenty of problems: poverty, climate change, a poor infrastructure, political instability, corruption and more. So the failure of Kenya and most other African nations to take up GMOs is especially painful because this problem is almost entirely self-imposed.
Like 80 percent of Kenya’s farmers, I’m a small-scale producer. My farm is near the city of Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County in the North Rift part of the country, I grow maize on five of my 25 acres. Another three acres are improved pasture. Vegetables, trees, free-range grazing, livestock barns, and homestead take up the rest of my farm.
I enjoy farming because it contributes to my family’s nutritional and economic security. Throughout the year, we can take carbohydrates, protein and vitamins from our own land. We also sell a portion of our crops as well as milk and eggs from our livestock. This is not my only job, but it’s a big part of my life. Farming provides me with a sense of satisfaction that few other professions can match.
Read more HERE.