The Cafedirect Producers Foundation (CPF) has been changing the lives of farmers all over the world for a few years now, and the secret to its success is a focus on sustainability. While the foundation is a helping hand to farmers, its true value lies in the ability to help share valuable information through its Centres of Excellence.
Read the inspirational story of Luke Metto, a Kenyan farmer with a vision for the future.
The Centres of Excellence
Cafedirect Producers Foundation founded the Centres of Excellence to help farmers teach other farmers in best practice farming techniques, who have since shown great innovation and drive in developing solutions. Smallholders are generally not recognised as innovators, but farmers in Kenya through the Sireet Outgrower Empowerment Programme have changed that perception.
Impressed with the programme, since 2007 CPF has worked closely with these smallholders. They established the Centre of Excellence as living classrooms to train visiting farmers and test ideas. Run by the farmers themselves, we meet up with Luke to learn his story.
Meet farmer Luke Metto
Luke Metto is a retired teacher with a passion for thinking outside the box when it comes to farming his land. Through his work at the Sireet Outgrower Empowerment Programme he met CPF in 2010. Climate change had been causing problems in the area and land that was suitable for farming decreased each year. Worried by this trend, Luke became one of the key teachers at the new Sireet-OEP Centre for Excellence.
Luke’s first aim was to show other smallholders how to farm in an innovative way on a small piece of land. As a farmer himself with a small 3 acre plot, Luke had experience in how to maximise the potential. He divided it into sections: a kitchen garden to grow vegetables, beehives producing honey and also an artificial wetland. On this wetland, Luke was able to grow some of the tallest Arrow Root plants local workers have ever seen – to think that this wetland had only been made possible due to a farmer exchange visit.
Hands up for diversification
Luke’s biggest achievement has been his use of easy hydroponic techniques to help develop a zero-grazing unit for cows. Hydroponics is a farming technology that doesn’t require soil, but uses a water-based solution containing all the nutrients plants need. It means you need only a small space which will deliver a high yield, and you can feed livestock on limited plots of land, using the rest of the land for other income.
This is an important step – price volatility of products, along with decreasing yields due to climate change mean that farmers’ incomes and livelihoods are under a constant threat. Relying on a single crop is a risky business for smallholder farmers, so diversification is essential.
Luke is living a much more financially stable life after diversifying his land. The income from his small enterprises has allowed him to invest more in his farm. He is excited about expanding his current business in future, as well as looking to innovate further.
Luke’s site is flourishing and has been noticed by visitors from other farming groups. More and more farmers who visit Luke’s farm can return home with fresh ideas they can implement, as well as share their progress through the farmers’ network. The Centre of Excellence has seed funds available for them to do this.
The result of the entire enterprise is a simple one: the Cafedirect Producers Foundation is known as an extremely sustainable support model, enabling African producers to improve knowledge, decision-making skills and their overall livelihoods. Great news indeed.
Please donate to the Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation (via JustGiving) & change a life: https://www.justgiving.com/gaurogrqpb/donate/