Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) situated in Juja was established in 1986 to encourage organic farming methods mainly among small holder farmers.
Why organic farming?
It has become apparent worldwide that intensive systems involving high inputs and chemical fertilizers, pesticides, hybrid seeds and mechanized irrigation systems are not only too costly for developing countries but are contributing to climate change, soil degradation and loss of plant diversity. After a few years of dramatic increase in yield under high external inputs, the production tails off as organic matter declines.
The soil becomes lifeless, acidic and prone to erosion. Ever increasing quantities of fertilizers are then needed to maintain production. And since plants produced the chemical way lack natural health and resistance, ever increasing quantities of pesticides are needed to protect them, polluting both soil and environment and undermining the health of farm workers. Such a system achieves only temporary gains. It is not sustainable in the long run. These facts are now widely accepted internationally. Consumers and producers are seeking alternatives.
Under organic farming, a steady permanent out-put is assured. Though yields may be slightly lower in some cases, they can be maintained indefinitely. The farmer’s cost does not spiral, since little or no external outputs are required. Natural fertilizer is made from materials found on a mixed farm. In combination with various cultural methods, healthy crops are produced which have natural ability to resist pests and diseases. This system is sustainable. It can continue indefinitely, with vast savings to the national economy and improvement in national health.