Seed Saving Boosts Tomato Farming

Tucked in the middle of Loboi mountains lies a 2 acre farm in Emkwen village. The farm is divided to cover a cow shed, and a home squeezed to cover a little space and leave the other space for farming. By the look of things nothing much is happening in this garden  but another section of the garden just behind the bananas, ridges have been prepared.

John at his tomato nursery

Surprisingly a big tomato nursery is located somewhere in the garden under a shade. John Cheruiyot 52 years is farmer in Baringo County and a member of Emkwen farmers group in Emkwen village.

He has 9 children that all depend on this garden for a living. He has been planting maize and tomato in a small section but he has stopped planting tomatoes due to high cost of inputs such as seeds and pesticides. He has been practicing farming long enough but monoculture for maize farming as most people around this area do. His only source of income is from maize farming and he says he doesn’t get enough money so most of the time his children are in and out of school due to school fees.

Last year, John was lucky to have been a member of this farming group where he received training from seed savers network through the help of Green economy financing facility (GEFF). He participated in biodiversity training and a practical training of tomato seed extraction. His interest is to have different types of crops that can give him income in his farm.

John transplanting tomato seedlings

He started tomato seed extraction as he want to have a big portion of land having tomatoes. So he went to his cowshed and piled as much dung as he could and prepared a nursery bed for the tomato seeds. This seedlings has responded by turning extra green  and healthy with vigorous growth. Pleased with the new changes, john is already transplanting the tomatoes to create extra room for raising more tomato seedlings.His neighbor’s usually pass by his farm to find out how this tomatoes are doing.

‘I am a happy farmer that I have learned that we have resources with us my neighbors didn’t trust that this seeds would germinate but they did so also using the foliar spray from leaves of bitter herbs as we were trained by seed savers to keep away cutworm. This is amazing I will get some cash while still consuming tomatoes free of chemicals’. I will train other people on how to extract seeds so that they also benefit and I am thankful to seed savers for impacting this knowledge to us,’ He quotes.