Manual work and Intercultural activities:
• Volunteers will be assigned tasks to work on the farm and this will include office and field work
• Volunteers will stay in the institute’s dormitories that are shared with the students and there is electricity and water connection to the institute. Volunteers have an obligation to climb down the level of the people with the aim of exposure to development challenges.
• KVDA will provide foodstuffs and volunteers will cook their own meals in turns. Water is available from springs and it is recommended that drinking water should be boiled or medicated. Mineral water available at supermarkets is also recommended. The Government policy to install ICT in primary schools has seen connectivity to the national power grid for most educational institutions in Kenya and this makes it easy for volunteers to use electric appliances while at the project.
• Furthermore, we invite you to bring typical food, spices, drinks, games and music from your country (for an intercultural evening) – and a lot of motivation!
KVDA offers educational tours to spectacular sites including the renowned Maasai Mara Game Reserve at separate fees. Please contact us for specific tour information.
The Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) is an officially registered technical training institution NO. MOHEST/PC/1361 and Non-government organization (NGO).
It is situated in Juja off – Thika highway, near Ndarugo Motel.
KIOF launched its first activities in 1987 – The Farmers Training and Extension Programme, which aimed at bringing the awareness of the challenges associated with conventional chemical farming (fertilizers and pesticides)
The advantages of environmentally – sound-farming methods, appropriate to small-scale farmers led to widespread public interest in the programme. Numerous requests were received from development organizations in Eastern Africa for training in organic farming.
After the initial strong growth, KIOF found that there was necessity to verifying some of the organic methods adopted by farmers.
KIOF therefore started looking into opportunities for on-farm trials and research so as to supply relevant back up data.
A Programme to incorporate youth training in organic agriculture was launched in 1995. This led to an Organic Agriculture Certificate course with the aim of assisting the youth to develop careers in Organic farming. A diploma programme was launched in 2004 and the Certificate Stream gradually phased out.
The Diploma Programme takes 2 years of theoretical and practical learning. Due to the growing interest in this field and high demand for profession knowledge in organic agriculture, KIOF launched a 2-year Distance Learning Diploma program in 2006.
A RENEWED APPROACH TO AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Organic farms and gardens have been operating years in many countries and climates. By reviving and developing sound husbandry practices they have shown that it is possible to combine good yields with high quality produce, lasting soil fertility and improved overall environment.
The Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) aims at making this experience available to all farmers and other stakeholders.
KIOF connects itself especially with the small – scale farmers who make up the majority of the farming community in Kenya. It is the small – scale farmers who are, in effect, the care takers of the natural environment. KIOF wants to stimulate better management of the environment by starting with sound agricultural principles on the farm.
KIOF organizes training sessions for groups of farmers: women groups, youth and other CBOs in the rural areas. KIOF comes into contact with these groups through various organizations, churches, government institutions and individuals.
WHY ORGANIC AGRICULTURE?
A problem in today’s agriculture is the need for cash. This need moves the nation as a whole and especially the farmer into cash crop farming. Most of which are non – food crops. The family food production is often neglected. This leads to poorer diets and poorer health of the farming community. The remedy for this situation is organic farming.
A JOINT STUDENT EXCHANGE
KIOF, is a long term training institution partnering with Rural Community in Development (RUCID) which is Uganda specialized in formal training in organic agriculture, community mobilization, processing and marketing of organic products (both local and export markets)
The nature of KOIF/RUCID collaboration include:
I. Joint programs for school leavers and rural youth in training organic agriculture at certificate and Diploma levels.
II. Awarding Certificates and Diplomas
III. Exchange of students to Kenya and Mityana, Uganda.
IV. Exposure to Biomedicine Medicinal herbs, product value addition and organic export marketing.
Students who participate in this program experience “hands on” learning situations in:
I. Organic production methods in crops and animal husbandry.
II. Organic products processing, value addition, and certification.
III. Organic packaging and marketing both locally and internationally.
¨ Students get a rare opportunity of doing their studies in both Uganda and Kenya
¨ Students Learn to travel across the Kenyan border s and gain cultured experience of other communities
Some of KIOF achievements.
Creating awareness and providing practical training in organic farming methods to farmers, equally men and women, the rural youth, extension officers, trainers and project managers.
Conducting on farm trials and data gathering in organic farming in medium and high potential areas in Kenya.
Gathering and disseminating information on organic farming throughout Eastern African region.
Stimulating the formation of organizations and networks on organic farming in Eastern Africa.
Facilitating marketing of organic produce.
Facilitating the understanding of organic standards.
THEME: ORGANIC FARMING PRINCIPLES
• Organic farming is based on mixed farming principles. Experiences show that mixed farming practices lead to better food and income stability. It does not exclude the cash crop but it puts it in the right place.
• The cash crop can become part of the farm’s crop rotation which puts emphasis on diversity of crops thereby raising the ecological balance of the farm. It provides a more complete diet for the family. Diversity in production means less risk, and better food and health within the farm.
• Production is based on maximum recycling of organic wastes and careful handling of manures and composts, careful soil cultivation and use of natural rock minerals, if necessary.
• Weed control is based on crop rotation and physical methods. Pests and disease control is sustained by understanding and maintaining physical, biological and ecological balances. These include traditional methods which are now being scientifically proven.
• The use of trees for shade, mulching, soil improvement, fruit, fodder and fuel production is of great importance, and correct understanding of their place on the farm is part of organic practice. Besides, trees protect the land from strong winds and improve the climate of the area.
• A fresh look is taken at the question of marketing. This is done with a view to improved understanding of the needs of the grower and the requirements of the consumer.
• Thinking in terms of organic agriculture means reviving and developing sound husbandry practices which include the human and the social surroundings of the farm. The farm is able to function as an organism in which all parts support each other.