Since 1965 the idea of pushing farmers to adopt expensive external agriculture inputs has been the official policy in many parts of Kenya. Government and International Development Agencies were spending millions of shillings and dollars to pump in chemical fertilizers, sprays and drugs, yet agricultural development was declining.
By 1990, food production had gone down by an estimated 30% even if more inputs were used and production was declining, it was clear that a different approach was needed urgently.
The answer was found in the use of Sustainable Agriculture Principles and Practices. This was the reason why SACDEP was launched in October 1992 and legally registered in Kenya under the NGOs coordination act of 1990. Communities in developing countries are the underprivileged. In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 80% of the populations depend on rain-fed agriculture. In Kenya 70% of the people live in rural areas where they work on farms to generate food and income.
Their lives are characterized by:
- Diminishing land sizes
- Diminishing financial capacity to purchase chemical farm inputs.
- Diminishing ability to establish farm mechanization.
- Declining soil fertility and energy sources.
- Reducing ability to determine prices for their agricultural produce.
- Reduced ability to irrigate farms.
- Reduced ability to influence policies that control their rural development.
On the other hand;
- Increasing family and population sizes.
- Increasing prices for rural development goods and services.
The end result of the scenario analyzed above is a people who are disempowered.
SACDEP believe that people are not necessarily poor, their status are as a result of poor development strategies.
These strategies are perpetuated by a biased elitist minority mostly guided by academic and foreign thinking.
Therefore, SACDEP SAYS "give people an opportunity to develop themselves and you will be surprised at what they can do for themselves."