A masterclass in growing mangoes
Patrick Mutisya talks about his success with growing mangoes.
Patrick on his mango farm
The Munyuni self-help-group's farm plot
“My name is Patrick Mutisya Makau, I’m the Vice-Chairman of the Munyuni self-help-group, and I’m a farmer.”
"For quite some time I have been growing maize and cowpeas. I have now changed to growing mangoes. I am hoping that they will benefit me during my old age when I will be less energetic."
"Mangoes are an easy way of making money."
"They need tender care when they are young. I normally transfer them into tree holes during the rainy season and do mulching to ensure that they store enough water to take them through the dry period. I don't travel long distances with donkeys to fetch water for the trees. Instead I dig standard tree holes to harvest enough water when it rains for use during dry periods."
"I plan to plant more than sixty mango trees. When the mango trees start yielding well; one tree should produce 500 mangoes. If you multiply the number of mangoes with the selling price, you are assured to get over 100,000 thousand shillings (£700), which is a great income."
"I have become an expert in grafting mango trees. I visit homes and train people on how to grow mangoes. I want the entire community to have knowledge on growing mangoes. Last time buyers came here, they bought mangoes from all the farmers who were growing them. People have become more knowledgeable and informed."
When we spoke to Patrick at his farm in Kanthuni last November, his story warmed our hearts.
Agriculture – the smart way
Changes in climate patterns have the most acute effect on people living in the world’s driest areas – like Patrick and his community.
When the Munyuni self-help-group approached our partners, Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF), they were suffering from severe water and food insecurity. Like most other farmers in the region, the group had been practicing rain-fed farming for generations and didn’t have the tools or know-how to deal with the new reality of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.
But it’s not impossible to successfully produce food in these conditions, even at a surplus, if the right methods are used. The group is now being supported by ASDF, building sand dams and learning new ways of doing things - they are starting to teach other communities too.
By practicing ‘climate-smart’ agriculture, farmers like Patrick don’t only adapt, but also make a real contribution to mitigating climate change by rehabilitating land that was previously degraded.
I have become an expert in grafting mango trees. I visit homes and train people on how to grow mangoes. I want the entire community to have knowledge on growing mangoes.
Patrick Mutisya Makau, Munyuni self-help-group