Program To Help Small Farmers Triples Corn Harvest in Kenyan Community

The Christian Science Monitor reports on a development program that, through the use of improved seeds and fertilizers, has tripled corn harvests in an impoverished district in Kenya. The Kenyan initiative is part of a pilot program being run by the Millennium Villages Project, the brainchild of economist and development expert Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. The Kenya project — one of 80 being conducted in 10 countries in Africa under the initiative — provided subsistence farmers with seeds specially suited for the region, fertilizer, and technical assistance. Corn production tripled and in some cases quintupled, enabling farmers to sell and store surplus grain at a nearby warehouse and begin to lift their families out of poverty. The Monitor cautioned, however, that major challenges remain before such a program can be expanded from the 11 villages of the Sauri community to the district and national level.