Maasai manure helps Kenya’s drought-hit herders fight hunger
Maasai manure helps Kenya’s drought-hit herders fight hunger.
“Prolonged drought is making it hard to find pasture and food,” he explained, estimating a third of his cattle have starved this year.
“Selling manure helps me buy food and pay hospital bills for my family.” Demand for manure collected from Kenya’s rangelands for use as fertilizer is on the rise.
Wanjiru has been farming her one-eighth of an acre using both manure collected from Maasai land and composted manure from her own cow penned on a corner of her land.
But finding enough good-quality fertilizer is becoming “a challenge”, she noted.
Much of this highland area has been planted with cash crops such as tea, crowding out staple crops, she said.
But for enterprising herders like Sankare, the manure trade offers a new source of income that is helping compensate for losses caused by drought.
That is enough to fertilize 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares) of tea plantation in central Kenya, said James Njuguna, a farmers’ field assistant working in the area.
“When manure from Maasai land is applied on the tea farms, the production is higher than expected,” said Njuguna.
ICIPE’s Karanja sees big potential in the manure trade because more Kenyans are investing in agriculture.