September 3, 2015 — In rural Kenya, where it may only rain twice per year, farmers and herders are embracing so-called “climate-smart” agriculture.
The video above, produced by the World Bank, begins by showing how John and Mary Obuom have transformed their one-acre farm into a model of sustainable practices. The family plants a diversity of crops in case one or more fails in a given year. A thicket of cashew trees increases income while providing shade and removing carbon from the air. And an elevated pen for livestock helps the Obuoms more efficiently collect manure to be used as fertilizer.
To keep the farm up and running during the lengthy dry seasons, the family taps into newly built storage systems that capture water during rainy periods.
The ultimate goal is to build resilience while protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gases. And if early returns are any indication, the new farming practices have been a smashing success. John has become an ambassador for smart-farming practices across the region, and the Obuoms now earn enough money to send their eight children and an orphan they care for to school rather than having them work on the farm.
The second half of the video shows how the Samburu people of north-central Kenya are embracing sustainable goat and cattle herding practices in the face of a changing climate.
One of the new practices involves combining herds. Because the animals graze more efficiently in larger groups, herders can allow some of the land to rest, improving the health of landscapes. This style of herding also allows for no-graze zones to be set aside, which helps increase the long-term sustainability of the region.