Kenya AE Hub II R&D and Info-Sharing

Lead Organization:

Organic Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network

Partner Organizations:

CCRP projects Drylands FRN, FRN-NGO, RECODA FRN, PKWI FRN, and VEDCO FRN; cross-cutting Soils, Multipurpose Legumes, and Botanical projects; NGOs and CBOs, including (town, municipality, or county with organization) Bungoma (SADI, VI), Busia (BERMA, SINGI), Homa Bay (DIG, Practical Action, Trees for the Future) Kisumu (Practical Action, Trees for the Future), Migori (ACEP, CMAD, Rural FRN), Siaya (Tembea Youth), Thika (GBIAK, RODI), and Trans-Nzoia (CMAP, Kipsaina Cranes and Wetlands Conservation Group, Thrive, SMART); IDEMS International; Innodems; Kenyan government organizations KALRO and Trans-Nzoia MOA; Manor House Agricultural Center (MHAC); PELUM Kenya; Busitema University Uganda and Maseno University

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa


Kenya and Tanzania




Kenya AE Hub’s scoping study identified critical issues for smallholder farmers that cut across diverse locations and communities. For two years, research support has provided for facilitation of the Soil Health FRN and development of FRNs on biofertilizer for soil productivity, pest and disease management, and income generation.

Comprised of Lake zone farmers in six western Kenya counties, the Soil Health FRN completed evaluation of residue-based interventions (biochar, boma compost, and lablab rotation) on Striga suppression and maize yield improvement. Results from 2019-2020 showed that in Migori County all three treatments significantly suppressed Striga infestation and more than doubled (boma compost and biochar) or tripled (lablab) maize yield compared to farmer practice. Although boma compost performed well across all counties, lablab and biochar performance varied by county, illustrating the critical importance of context in farmer experimentation.

Although development of a biofertilizer FRN was limited by the pandemic, two years of Manor House experiments focused on vairo and bokashi, biofertilizers recently introduced from Brazil into Kenya. In 2021 experiments, a basal application of bokashi more than doubled kale yield and increased that of African nightshade by 50 percent. Bokashi application protected kale from attack by chafer grubs (Schizonycha spp.). Sprayed vairo had no effect on pest/disease suppression or leafy green crop yield and did not consistently improve maize and bean yield. Data suggest that tea made from Tephrosia vogelii may beneficially affect leafy green crop growth.

A 2021 Tephrosia experiment showed that significant numbers of shrubs (a dozen at first harvest, five at second) were needed to make up a single backpack application for crop pest control. Despite Tephrosia’s potential to control multiple crop and livestock pests, a more diverse approach is warranted. In winter 2022, following a planning workshop with 34 farmer leaders, the Pest and Disease FRN was organized. Farmers chose to focus on fall armyworm in maize and chicken ectoparisites. Along with Tephrosia, treatments included soil paste and other pesticidal plant powders on fall armyworm and diatomaceous earth on ectoparasites.

The FRN on income generation began with interviews of six farmer groups across Kenya and expanded to 14, including one in Tanzania, through intensive regional workshops on value addition and marketing. Regional WhatsApp groups were formed and training needs identified.

Grant Aims:

The first goal is to support an AE hub that provides tangible, consistent value to a diverse, inclusive hub CoP whose members contribute to AE transformation for smallholder farmers.

Specifically, the project seeks to:

  1. Provide demand-driven, evidence-based information about relevant AE practices.
  2. Recruit AE scientists and students to be part of ongoing social learning cycles and future hub activities.
  3. Strengthen capacities of CoP members to expand and improve upon hub activities through provision of demand-driven trainings, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities.
  4. Investigate (create, test, and share) processes that contribute to successful outcomes in:
    • Community building of AE science, movement, and practice actors
    • Social learning cycles related to farmers’ key agricultural challenges and research and outreach on AE options to address them
    • Support for farmer innovation and experimentation around AE options, organizations aiming to implement FRN, data processes for impact-oriented research studies, and transdisciplinary student experiences to inspire and recruit the next generation to work across disciplines on key local challenge
  5. Develop physical hub’s workshop-related infrastructure (accommodation facilities and AE R&D demonstration farm) according to site development plan and resource availability.

The second goal is to have farmers using AE practices that are successful in their contexts.

Specifically, the project seeks to:

  1. Focus on AE practices that can effectively address farmers’ key challenges and are within their reach to implement.
  2. Socialize local and global knowledge and experiences related to practices.
  3. Enable CoP partners to harness FRN approaches to identify effective versus ineffective AE practices in different contexts.
  4. Improve partners’ access to high quality information about effective AE practices and AE strategies that address farmer challenges.

The third goal is to bridge gaps between AE science, movement, and practice actors.

Specifically, the project seeks to:

  1. Socialize CCRP principles and key AE science, movement, and practice concepts at hub convenings.
  2. Provide opportunities for actors to share AE-related experiences, knowledge, and ideas.
  3. Facilitate all hub member types to participate in social learning cycles and other capacity-strengthening activities.

The fourth goal is to have local partners prepare to assume hub leadership roles at end of grant cycle.

Specifically, the project seeks to:

  1. Mentor local partners.
  2. Devolve responsibilities and resources to partners.
  3. Facilitate opportunities for local partners to obtain relevant skills, knowledge, and experiences.

Outputs and Outcomes:


  • Reports and publications documenting effective AE practices and hub and FRN processes
  • Videos, fact sheets, and web pages on learning resources relevant to focal AE practices and related concepts
  • Tools/resources for developing capacity in FRN approaches


  • Effective AE practices identified for specific environments
  • Benefits of effective AE practices manifest in steadily growing numbers of smallholder farms in focal counties
  • Evidence-based information about AE concepts and practices more widely available and accessed
  • FRN approaches adopted by broader range of hub partners