“The main problem is water and rain,” said Joseph, a farmer from Makueni, Kenya on an episode of Shamba Shape-Up. Joseph and his wife Angela are among many farmers who are suffering from the unpredictable weather patterns caused by climate change.
In response to farmer concerns, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has partnered with the East African TV show Shamba Shape-Up to bring sustainable agricultural innovations to farmers.
Shamba Shape-Up is a farm make-over show that visits farmers around Kenya and helps them the challenges they are facing, including poverty, low crop yield, disease and climate change.
In the 8th episode of the second season, Shamba Shape-Up pays close attention to climate change issues on Joseph and Angela’s farm in Makueni.
Learn more: Watch all the episodes here!
TV show hosts Tonny Njuguna and Naomi Kamau address the many issues caused by climate change on Joseph and Angela’s farm, starting with their water problems. Makueni is a region that faces severe weather patterns. In the rainy season, crops are washed away and soil is eroded. But when the dry season comes, the strong heat dries the soil, making it difficult for plants to grow.
Angela and Joseph are taught how to make better use of the little rainwater they receive by building trenches that direct rainwater to trees and by fixing gutters around the ‘shamba’ (farm) to collect water. They also plant trees that will both fertilise the soil on the shamba, and slow land degradation by fixing soil with their roots.
A major problem that has been identified is that unpredictable weather patterns make it difficult for farmers to know when to plant their crops. Organisations such as the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Crops (ICRISAT) and the Kenya Agricultural research Institute (KARI) work with farmers to develop better ways of predicting weather, and provide them with drought resistant seeds to plant.
The problems faced by Joseph and Angela are faced by farmers around the world. What makes Shamba Shape-Up so successful is that it responds directly to farmers’ needs and provides them with affordable solutions in an entertaining way.
Manon Verchot is a Communications Intern based in Nairobi, with CCAFS' Theme 4.1: Linking Knowledge with Action. Get the latest updates from East Africa by following the program on Twitter: Cgiarclimate_ea