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Samuel Nderitu's Story

Micronutrient Fortification and Biofortification

This year the weather has been kind to Samuel Nderitu. For the last three years, his farm in a rural area north of Nairobi has lacked rain. This year is different.

He remains concerned, however: “This year we have got rain, but maybe next year we will fail to get it”.

Samuel’s farm is located at the border of the Nyeri district which has been severely affected by drought. He is a part-time farmer and part-time matatu (public bus) driver but is now entirely dependent on the farm, because the thirteen-year-old matatu has broken down.

“If the harvest fails, I cannot pay my children’s school fees”, he says. “And I really believe that I have to give a good education to my children”.

Samuel farms entirely by hand. This year he is growing potatoes, maize and beans. He did not plant wheat because he did not have the funds to buy the required chemicals.

The family eats 3 times a day, mainly ugali [a local bread made of maize flour], githeri [a local dish made of cooked maize and beans] and potatoes. They must store food because of the uncertainty of what the weather will do next year.

Samuel is aware of genetically modified crops, which could possibly help to improve his harvest,and also supply valuable extra micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and pro-vitamin A in energy-rich staples.

“I would use them, but I need to get education about it,” he says. “I would try because crop failure is not good and I rely on the crops to feed my family”.

Based on an interview by Joana Socias. Photographs by Joana Socias.