Livelihood Agricultural Support Program
In 2016, Mercy-USA instituted an agricultural livelihood support project for farmers in Kenya. The program’s lasting effects are still seen today in the lives of farmers like Siyat, whose story is featured below:
Siyat was a 67-year-old pastoralist in Kenya when his family was enrolled in our livelihood project. “I had this piece of land by the river, but in years past I only used it as grazing land for my livestock. You need skills to farm, and even though the river water is only about 100 yards away, it was useless when I couldn’t pull it out.”
In years past, Siyat’s livestock would perish with drought conditions and force him to leave his land and village with his very large family to seek help from relief agencies and the Kenyan government.
Mercy-USA’s livelihood project helped Siyat and his family make better use of the resources they already had at their disposal. He and his two older sons were trained in basic farming techniques, and given farming tools and fertilizer. We also supplied the family with a generator and fuel to access river irrigation water for his under-utilized farmland.
Now, Siyat is growing crops that support his family with a variety of nutritious grains and vegetables plus these are cash crops he can sell for additional income.
Siyat and other farmers in our program now grow Sudan Grass, a highly efficient fodder for livestock that is drought-resistant. The Sudan Grass strengthens his livestock and he’s able to sell what he doesn’t need to others for more income. “This livelihood project has made a tremendous change in our income, food security and we’re all eating a better diet. I’ve never seen the kind of support Mercy-USA has given our village.”
Projects like this agricultural support program are designed to help families like Siyat’s to become more resilient to hardship and the fickle climate changes that have devastated so many in the last decades in East Africa.