More photos of the article "Organic versus conventional"

(Title story of Biovision Newsletter 41, August 2016)

The soil samples collected in the field are analysed by KALRO (Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization) in Muguga.
Organic farmer James Kuria Mwangi out in the field explaining to his grandchildren the differences between organic and conventional farming.
SysCom test field in Chuka: Scientist David Karanja copies weather data onto his laptop. The data is collected and measured by the permanent weather station.
The project team generates output data, e.g. the length of the corncobs grown on the SysCom test field.
Small-scale farmer Anne Gitonga is one of those involved in the "Participatory Technology Development” element of the SysCom project and is also conducting trials on her own farm.
Small-scale farmer Anne Gitonga and project assistant Peter Owuor talk about the trials. Farmers and scientists learn from each other and this exchange of experience is a very important part of the SysCom project.
Another participant in the study is small-scale farmer Josephine Ithiru from Chuka. She is expecting to increase yields using organic methods despite the lack of rain because soil fertility and the soil moisture content are higher with this method.
The production of compost – as practised by small-scale farmer Josephine Ithiru from Chuka on her farm as part of the field trials – is an important element of organic farming.
Knowledge gained from the SysCom project is already being passed on to schoolchildren. In Kangari, school groups are taught how to produce compost.
The children try out various methods of composting in their school garden. Their teacher passes on the results of the project to the class.
Project assistants measure the moisture content of the soil on the SysCom test field in Chuka.
Soil samples are also taken from the test fields in Thika.
The small-scale farmers participating in the SysCom project exchange information. For example, "In the past I frequently suffered from headaches caused by the use of chemicals on my farm. My doctor recommended that I stop using them and so for years I have been making my own organic fertiliser from the tithonia plant."
Countryside near Kangari, north-west of Thika in Kenya. Several farmers in the area are participating in field trials run by the SysCom project, including James Kuria Mwangi, the main protagonist in our cover story.