PanAfricare Blog

One farmer’s journey is improving nutrition and livelihoods through sweet potatoes in Turkana


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Patrick Juma walks out of his house carrying his sacks and farm tools ready to go and harvest his Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes. Next to his house, his four children are playing under the shade of acacia trees that is effective in protecting them from the hot Turkana sun.

Patrick is one of the farmers in Kangirega, Katilu Ward in Turkana South Sub-County. Over the past year, he has become a success and a model to other members of the community. After the Post-Election Violence in 2007, he had to relocate from Nakuru County. He came to Kangirega and started selling Charcoal to meet his daily needs. It was probably the only way that he could earn some income to sustain his family of four kids, noting that the area is also drought-prone.

About two years ago, Patrick became a farmer under the PanAfricare IMPACT Project. He attended meetings where representatives of PanAfricare capacity built him and other farmers on good agricultural practices, Village Savings and Loans Association as well as the establishment of Water Users Association, just to mention a few. Additionally, they were provided with farm inputs, water, and seeds.

Currently, Patrick is planting OFSP, Cassava, Sorghum, millet, cowpeas and, maize. ‘I decided to farm so that I can get food for home consumption and to sell the surplus. The income that I get from sales, I save in the VSLA groups that offer loans at the village level,’ he says as he loads the day’s harvest and gets ready to go to the market. Today he has managed to harvest 50kgs of OFSP.

Unlike traditional sweet potato varieties, OFSP contains vitamin A, which is especially important to women’s and children’s health.

Selling OFSP is a profitable business. For two years now, Patrick has made a good income—enough to improve his family’s nutritional needs and livelihood.

About IMPACT Program

“Improved Approach to Community-Based Nutrition in Turkana (IMPACT) Project is aimed at reducing Global Acute Malnutrition and improving resilience against food-security-related shocks at the household level. It is supported by Bayer Fund and is being implemented in Turkana County.