Upon registration of SACDEP in 1993, farmers training in S.A commenced in 3 Divisions of Thika District in Kenya. To date, over 40,000 farmers are improving their lives through the created Food and Agro-Income Security.
Through the kind support of various development agencies, SACDEP is currently working in 14 Districts. These are Machakos, Kajiado, Mwingi, Embu, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Maragwa, Thika, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Laikipia, and Kilifi. Others targeted in the future work include Makueni, Taita Taveta, Meru North, Butere, Mumias, Busia and North Eastern Province.
Other regions planned for expansion are Northern Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Somalia.Â Â
During the 14 years of work, the sector has refined the strategies of S.A. As it is well known, conventional agriculture has only 1 principle – Increased production and resultant incomes. This is an extractive form of agriculture. The fact that food and income continue to dwindle for small holders is due to the outdated simplistic and single component approach for farming.
Therefore, SACDEP uses the following Principles:-
- Economic feasibility. From Production to marketing over time.
- Environmentally friendly – maximizing or optimizing? Extractive or harmonized use of natural resource base for future productivity?
- Social Justice – Who determines current and future trends of agriculture development?
- Culturally acceptable: Small holder farmers are not mere farm Managers in a commercial farm. The family’s culture, norms and structures are an integral part of their agriculture.
In order to make the principles become practically operational, SACDEP has developed 6 pillars of S.A. The removal of 1 of the pillars leaves agriculture unsustainable. The pillars are:-
- Development of synergies and utilization of social capital through farmer working groups.
- Utilization of low-cost External InputsÂ for agricultural productivity.
- Use of Organic Agriculture being a sub set of Sustainable Agricultural Practices.
- Ability by Producers to conserve, process and add value and participate fully in marketing decisions especially in pricing.
- Ability by communities to mobilize finances and activating own savings and credit schemes.
- Using renewable energy sources for production, conservation processing and transportation in agriculture enterprises.
- Full and proactive participation by farmers in reviews and formulation of policies that support agricultural and rural development.
Success cases of S.A
The Organization has implemented tens of projects successfully. It has however some key examples largely associated as “trade Marks” of SACDEP’s work in Kenya. These include:-
- Household based Projects.
- General chemical free production of Organic Products.
- Use of draft animal power from farm work
- Low cost livestock. The most successful being the introduction and stabilization of the dairy goat as alternatives to dairy cow for small holder.
- Use of wind energy
- Farmers – Direct Organic Markets. This places farmers in a higher plane of income as compared with their conventional agriculture (Chemical supported) Producers.
- Establishment of high value alternative and emerging crops. They include herbs, medicinal plants, essentialÂ oils etc.