Information of this type and subject matter was requested by DCFRN participants in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria. Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of China (Taiwan), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Trinidad, and Uruguay.
Content: Part 2 of Hannah Njeri’s success story begins with a brief review of Part 1, then continues with ideas aimed at encouraging older children to remain in the countryside. Several of the farming practices that contribute to Hannah’s success are mentioned as well as her assistance to others and her plans for the future. While the story features the success that can be achieved by a woman farmer in her own right, all information can be of value to any small-scale farmer regardless of age or sex.
This Success Story (Part 1 in Item 1 and Part 2 in Item 2) is a new feature of the DCFRN package. It is completely different from all other material produced so far. DCFRN has always recognized the important contribution made by women. This story is the first of a series intended not only to continue serving all farmers, but also to:
- recognize the contributions of women in society
- enhance their ability to contribute more fully
- encourage and assist them to achieve their potential
DCFRN would welcome success stories in detail of other rural women in non-traditional roles for reporting in future packages.
2. Items 1 and 2 are really the same item divided into two equal parts. They may be used separately in the proper sequence or both together in one presentation.
3. DCFRN information is not intended to be offensive in any way to your rural people by promoting ideas or practices that directly oppose any cultural values held by your people. You are well aware of these cultural customs and practices in your area. Please keep them in mind when preparing to use DCFRN material.
4. Before using the information in this item, please read the notes at the end about related DCFRN items.
From all over the world, the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network gathers information that may be useful to you. They realize, as we do at (include the name of your extension agency, radio station, publication, etc.) that (much) (most) of the farming that’s done in countries like (include the name of your country/ies) is done by women. Here’s the rest of a story we began last time.
- grows better than average crops than many of the neighbours
- has healthy children
- is able to buy some of the special things that many others can’t afford to buy
You may remember that this farmer’s name is Hannah Njeri. She’s 40 years old and her husband works away from home. She has nine children; the eldest son is a school teacher. Her farm is 1/3 of an acre (about 1/10 of a hectare) in size and she grows many kinds of vegetables, fruit and grain. She also keeps rabbits, six laying hens, and a cow. She makes her own fertilizer in the form of compost, and has doubled vegetable production on one of her garden plots using the technique called double digging. She protects her crops from insect pests by planting Mexican marigolds in the garden—and by applying two different insecticides she makes from tobacco plants and wild nettles. Hannah is a successful farmer and many people visit her.
Hannah’s farm is beautiful. It’s a place that she and her family are proud to show people who come to see it and to learn from her.
Her son who is the school teacher lives in another place but he’s now using his mother’s techniques and telling other people about them. Another son, 19 years old, has become so interested that there’s no way he’s going to leave the village and move to town; he’s happy to work right there on the family farm and learn with his mother about ways to improve both their food supplies and the soil at the same time.
They now own a radio; her children are all able to go to school; they keep good records which help them make the right decisions about their farming practices. Actually they don’t have to buy many seeds because Hannah has learned how to store her own vegetable seeds from one season to the next so they’ll be good for planting.
And has Hannah any plans for the future for her model farm? Yes, indeed she has. For one thing, the double digging is so successful for increasing crop production, she’s going to triple the area on which she grows crops using this technique.
She wants to finish planting Leucaena trees (3) all around the boundary of her farm. Leucaena leaves are excellent for cow food, for mulching crops, and for compost. The nodules on Leucaena tree roots add nitrogen to the soil. The trees planted close together will act as a fence around the farm. Best of all, they’ll produce enough firewood so Hannah will never again have to spend so many hours each week finding firewood. It’ll all be right there on her own farm and maybe she’ll even be able to sell some.
In addition, after raising enough money she’ll fix the pump in her well and eventually with her neighbours, buy a small mill for grinding their grain. Hannah then won’t have to spend hours every day fetching water or carrying her grain to town to have it ground for feeding to her family.
But how did Hannah get started on becoming a model farmer? She got her ideas from a man who lives nearby. He’s the Director of the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF), John W. Njoroge. John’s a participant in the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network. He knows that it’s women who do most of the farm work. So he discussed some of these good farming techniques with Hannah and a group of her friends. Now that they’re using them, they and their families are healthier and happier—and they’re improving their soil instead of depleting it. Hannah is the one whose story we heard about, and we’ve been happy to tell it to you. Perhaps from it you’ve received some good ideas that will help you grow better crops have healthier children be able to buy some special things you’d like to have.
Perhaps too, if you’re a woman, Hannah’s story may help you to become a successful farmer yourself just like she is.
1. As this item is a continuation of Hannah’s story, begun in Item I, Notes 1 and 2 for that item apply to this item as well. Please refer to those notes.
DCFRN Evaluator Ruth McRae visited Hannah accompanied by DCFRN participant John W. Njoroge, Director, Kenya Institute of Organic Farming.