Sustainable Village Resources was founded by Caleb Odondi Omolo, native to the Rongo area. Caleb approached PRI-Kenya for a partnership when being trained by PRI-Kenya. Caleb has been through a PDC, Permaculture Teacher Training as well as the Advanced Permaculture Consultant Training with PRI-Kenya. Sustainable Village Resources was set up by Caleb to find sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by his community.
Rongo, in Migori county is blessed with fertile soils and abundant rains but unsustainable agricultural practices has seen an increasing deforestation and soil erosion in the area. The farmers in the area used to make a good income from coffee, but most abandoned their coffee production in favour of sugar production. Despite the good soils and rainfall farmers are struggling to make a living from their sugarcane with volatile markets. The Rongo Coffee Farmers are a group of farmers from all five locations in Rongo who all still have their coffee trees, but who have struggled due to a lack of processing equipment and lack of access to markets and fair prices. PRI-Kenya partnered with Sustainable Village Resources and Rongo Coffee Farmers group to support the farmers in their efforts to create environmentally sustainable livelihoods. Our aim is to see coffee food forests- layered agroforestry systems providing both organic and healthy coffee as well as food crops and other cash crops such as honey. Integrated into the system will also be species that provide essential eco system services such as nitrogen fixing trees.
Together with Sustainable Village Resources and the Biovision Foundation- Swistzerland and SLUSH fund in North America, we have started the set-up of a central coffee food forest demonstration site, a coffee tree nursery with seedlings appropriate for organic production and a simple processing and storage site. We have one of Kenya’s largest coffee marketers ready to help us market the coffee and transport arranged through our supporter Fargo Courier.
It starts with the soil – Organic farmers work to develop a deep, rich topsoil by creating mulch out of the coffee cherry pulp. Adding other nitrogen-rich elements to it, they turn it for a full year to create a compost to spread around the base of the trees. This allows the plants to develop a longer root structure, improving moisture content, reducing soil erosion, and resulting in a clean taste.
In the next phase of the project we hope to start training on organic production and permaculture alongside business skills training. PRI Kenya has also successfully creating avenues for SVR’s organic coffee in Nairobi and beyond. The farmers are able to now work toward their financial sustainability and independence through the enterprise development. PRI has also extended their service to provide support in financial management structures so SVR is able to utilize funds effectively.