Updated: Feb 4, 2022
As featured in Kenya Climate Innovation Centre Agribusiness News
Syntropic Farming is a farming revolution from Brazil originated by Ernst Götsch, a Swiss farmer and researcher. It seeks to cultivate resilient ecosystems by regenerating the soil without the need of long term external inputs.
Through the biodiversity of the plants, the soil becomes rich and sequesters Carbon. There are no chemicals required as the balance is natural and the fruit and vegetables grown are packed with high levels of nutrition due to the life inside the soil.
In Kenya, L.E.A.F. Africa, is working on making Syntropic farming a staple in the region. Sven Verwiel, the Technical Director at L.E.A.F says, “This system offers a sustainable method in preserving and regenerating our lost forest cover and solving the issue of food insecurity on the continent. It also offers a viable source of income from the sale of produce.”
L.E.A.F. Africa lives by their mission which aims to stimulate Africa’s transition towards positive impact agriculture at any scale; farming that encourages economic, environmental and social profitability at a landscape level.
L.E.A.F. Africa has a demonstration site, Tamalu Farm in Timau, Kenya which is open to the locals and visitors to experience at first hand the outputs of Syntropic Farming and also teach local farmers some of the techniques. The farm has experienced over 500 visits since its inception in 2018, when it was acquired from a dormant flower farm.
Some of the short term and long term benefits experienced by Syntropic Farming include: Crop yields are large; Income is steady over the growing season; Crops are chosen and planted to yield harvests in stages throughout the year and over years; Income increases over the years as the fruit and lumber trees start to mature; And land space is optimized.
The production of vegetables is also done alongside fruit and lumber trees; Costs are minimized (pesticides, fertilizers and mechanized farm equipment are not needed); And soil quality improves. Soil tends to become more fertile, soft, aerated and workable. The farm is also less reliant on frequent rainfall because of improved water retention. The working environment is pleasant as the trees eventually provide partial shade. This model of farming requires less weeding. The ground is covered with mulch, which suppresses grass and competitive plants. As the farm environment improves, finicky species can be cultivated. L.E.A.F. Africa joined the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) in 2020 through the Commercial Forestry program in partnership with Gatsby Africa.
Syntropic Farming is a way of farming that asks everyone as stewards of the land to live in harmony with nature. It asks that we learn from nature through imitating natural processes in order to produce food. It is a holistic approach working with nature’s processes and the dynamics of ecosystems.
Original Article by Michelle Mung'ata - Kenya Climate Innovation Center