Edna Makunda, a 36-year old married mother of five uprooted all the sugarcane on her 0.2 ha of land, and replaced it with soybeans. She was tired of trying to support her five children from the cane: the sugar mill paid late, and sometimes she did not make enough to cover her costs. She was confident that soybeans, after learning about it, would be better.
She was disappointed: erratic rains in the 2012 growing season meant she harvested 72 kg of soybeans, bringing in only KSh 3,240. But she was not discouraged. She had been attending farmer-to-farmer training sessions organized by Rural Outreach Africa, and had learned about how soybeans would improve her soil.
The next season, she planted maize on the same land, and was delighted to harvest eight 90-kg bags of maize – four times what she had ever got before. These fetched KSh 22,400. Even though the soybean had yielded poorly, it had still improved the nitrogen level in her soil, boosting her maize yield.
“I hope to replace my grass-thatched house of KSh 5,000 value with iron sheets”, she beams. “I have used the income to buy some iron sheets and to rent a church room for a nursery school, and I want to feed my family better.”