Richard Sausi is one of 11 farmers trained in Kenya as an OFSP vines multiplier. The 42-year old father of six is also the Chairman of the Mwongoya self-help group in Omariba Ward, Kisii South Sub-County in Kisii County. Although the farmers initially came together to meet their social needs, they slowly incorporated improved production of select crop and animal varieties as a major objective. This attracted the attention of Extension Officers in the region, who now provide the group’s members technical support and also link them to other development partners (DPs) that are promoting beneficial agricultural technologies.

If Richard’s performance is anything to go by, the group members are doing well. He derives his income from his 5-acre farm where he grows bananas, maize, coffee, sweet potatoes and does dairy farming. 1 acre of the land is under banana production and he recently adopted the use of Tissue Culture (TC) bananas as a starter material for his orchard. The bananas have become a major source of income for his family, earning him an average of KES 15,000 (USD 150) per month. Richard was recommended by the Extension Officer in his ward as a potential OFSP vines multiplier when Africa Harvest initiated the project in Kisii County. His  commitment to both his group and his farm has made him stand out. The 11 vine multipliers attended a 2-day training at the Kisii Agricultural Training Center (Kisii ATC). It was conducted by the CIP. The training focused on sweet potato vines selection, their establishment in the nursery beds, and the establishment and management of vine multiplication tunnels. Later, all the trainees, Richard included, received 2,000 vines, consisting of three sweet potato varieties. Two of the varieties, KABODE and VITA, are enhanced with beta carotene, and one was a local variety for comparison
or control purposes. Richard established a demonstration site to serve as a source of tubers for consumption and a bulking site for vines multiplication.

Each variety was put on a nursery bed of 40 m2.  His group members and surrounding community will be reviewing the performance and characteristics of each variety and making informed choices on what to adopt. Richard will be harvesting tubers for home consumption
and vines for sale. In about 3 months, Richard will start harvesting vines and by about the ninth month, it is expected that he will have harvested about 50,000 vines for sale to his group’s members and surrounding community to establish their own orchards.

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