Mr. Anthony Kandili is a proud Maasai farmer, married and the father of three children. Recently, he joined fellow community members on a learning tour of farms in the area surrounding his village in southern Kenya. The field visit was organized by Noomayianat Community Development Organization (NCDO), one of Vibrant Village Foundation’s local partners in Kenya. The purpose of the tour was to expose farmers to new farming techniques and new crops that could improve their own production and livelihoods.
Mr. Kandili comes from a Maasai pastoralist community, living on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the Kimana area of Loitokitok, where climate change is no longer an abstract notion, but a stark reality. Effects of climate change have forced the Maasai to switch to large-scale subsistence crops farming as an alternative way to access food for survival and to earn a livelihood. Prior to the farm tour, he had never set foot out of the Kimana area. Mr. Kandili looked forward to visiting other areas of Kenya that were practicing similar and more successful farming techniques.
Mr. Kandili was awestruck to see pineapples growing on a farm in Rumuruti, and was quick to catch on to the idea. Immediately following the learning tour, he planted pineapple suckers he had bought from the farm. Now, barely one month after the trip, two of his pineapple suckers have already developed small fruits.
“I am a big fan of pineapple, but I never knew that pineapple farming could be replicated in Kimana,” Mr. Kandili explained. He had invited members of NCDO to visit his small farm to witness the miracle of the moment.
He says, “The Bible verse states: ‘My people perish due to lack of knowledge’ [Kweli biblia inasema watu wangu wanapotea kwa kukosa elimu]. To me this is a miracle. I have tried several times to plant the top part of pineapple fruits without success, not knowing that it is the suckers that are to be planted.”
Jokingly, Mr. Kandili said he is proud to have his name listed in the Guinness book of World Records as the first Maasai farmer ever to produce pineapple fruit in Loitokitok!
“Now that I am sure that pineapple farming can be applicable to our climate, I am planning to purchase more suckers,” Mr. Kandili says. “Though I can’t just stop being a pastoralist, I have decided to take up crop farming seriously as a business.”