Henry has noticed rainfall steadily decline over the years. Food security issues are escalating and he has had to change the crops he grows so he is less dependent on rainfall. The photograph of Henry gazing up at the sky through the trees was selected as a runner-up in the SIDA exhibition and currently features on the site’s homepage.
Improved agricultural techniques have allowed Henry to use considerably less water and now he can even grow vegetables during the dry season. Changing weather patterns is not Henry’s only concern, however, as he continues to support his two eldest grandchildren through university.
Living in the Busia county in western Kenya, 65-year-old Henry has used the training he received from Ripple Effect to dig a fertility trench. Water is retained in the soil for longer, assisting the growth of vegetables for personal consumption. He has also built a drip kit and a keyhole garden. Drip kits are used to automate watering systems and help save 50% of the farm’s water, whereas keyhole gardens compact the most nutrient-rich soil inside a constrained wall, aiding a farmer’s ability to grow vegetables all year round.
Asked about the changes in weather patterns, Henry said that there is a difference in the rainfall when compared with years gone by:
“It used to rain for a few days in February and March, but now it can be dry from January to April.” - Henry, Kenya
Reduced rainfall changes everything for a smallholder farmer. Henry’s harvest has changed significantly, but his current crops serve him well:
“We now harvest beans and bananas which means we have food security, unlike the past when we only consumed maize. We now have ways of producing more food, which has enabled us to increase production.” - Henry, Kenya