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OACK: Innovative agriculture – how grafting edible fruit onto poisonous weeds can increase production and feed communities

There are not many missions more worthwhile than ensuring a steady food supply for a poorly-nourished community. As a WAFA Award shortlisted project in 2016, The Organic Agriculture Centre of Kenya (OACK) has been pursuing this goal by helping locals to be innovative with their agriculture. This has allowed the community to produce enough food for all, while at the same time boosting their economy.

Stephen Ng’ang’a Wainaina, Executive Director at OACK, says: “After being shortlisted for WAFA, the project took off and the morale of the workers has increased”.

THE PROJECT IN ACTION

OACK has been working  on ensuring protection and use of the world’s biodiversity since 2013. The project is focused on the cultivation of tamarillo, an important source of food and financial income in Kenya.  Through their innovative methods, the community has increased production of tamarillo by grafting its fruits onto bugweed plants, vastly increasing its resistance to drought. Bugweed’s roots extend far into the soil, meaning they are anchored more strongly and can reach water sources unavailable to shallower plants. This results in a longer growing season for the plants meaning they can be more productive.  There is the added advantage that the tamarillo plants become more resistant to soil-borne diseases and pests.

This renewed strategy has  provided multiple advantages: it has improved biodiversity and preservation of the area, the population’s health has generally improved and  the community is better nourished both in term of quality and quantity. As an added benefit, thanks to the fruit sales the local economy has experienced a significant boost!

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

The project is still running, reaching more and more people. Learn more about this organisation and its achievements at  http://oack.or.ke/achievements/  

 

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