Agrivi Ltd

Keyhole Gardens; Positive Impact on Food Security


Courtesy of Agrivi Ltd

World hunger is a constant problem. It has been one of the most widely discussed topics in recent years. Rapidly increasing global population, limited natural resources, and climatic changes, has resulted in the need for a sustainable increase in food production. Scientists, governments, and organizations across the world are working together to bring innovations and good farming practices which will improve food production and farming, thus feeding the world. Unfortunately, despite all of those efforts, we are still faced with feeding 7.3 billion people. This means that one out of every nine people go to bed hungry every night.

Intensive farming has been used as a practice for achieving higher yields and improving food production for many years. However, today’s solutions are turning towards the sustainable practices such as organic farm production. Hunger and malnutrition, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, can be reduced with a new way of farming: keyhole gardens.

What is a Keyhole Garden and How to Build It?

Named according to its shape, keyhole garden is round raised garden supported with the stones. This new way of family farming is a perfect solution for hot and dry areas as well as for rocky, compact, shallow and arid soils.

The farmer who builds a keyhole farm can feed a family of eight people for five to seven years. These sustainable small farms are built with low-cost locally available materials. Here is a brief guide of how to build a keyhole garden:

  • choose a place with enough sunlight, located near water, with no weeds
  • on the ground, draw a circle with 3 meters in diameter with a marked triangle entrance that will facilitate access to the compost bin in the middle of the keyhole garden
  • the compost bin allows you to add water and biodegradable trash to serve as a compost which is placed in the middle of this little farm
  • over the entire garden’s surface, the first layer of the soil needs to be removed and then layered with wood, cardboard, ash and manure
  • on the top of the compost there will be fertile soil
  • the garden is bordered by a wall made of rocks, bricks or wood so the farm is compact

Farm management of keyhole garden is very simple and sustainable; kitchen and garden waste serve as a fertilizer to bring nutrients to the soil, and water for irrigation comes from household waste water. The scheme of this farming practice significant for developing countries can be seen in the picture below.


Influence on the future of growing crops

Usually built near houses, keyhole gardens enable anyone to farm easily, which is especially suitable for elderly and physically challenged farmers. With this farm practice, there is no need for tillage and less need for water. In the keyhole garden, farmers grow a variety of plants of which some have insect-repellent properties thus decreasing pest occurrence and also eliminating the costs of pesticides. Another beneficial farmer’s practice is following crop rotation which helps manage crop demands for nutrients thus eliminating the cost of fertilizers.

The purpose of keyhole farms is to increase the positive impact on food and nutrition security. Three keyhole farms could supply a large family with a variety of crops during a year. The system also involves vulnerable groups of people in the food production process. The aim of this sustainable farm practice is to encourage family farming as well as give allow everyone to become a farmer and to take responsibility for their own food production.

Awareness of the need for a sustainable approach to the food production has been increased. All forces are oriented towards achieving food security. Keyhole farms are an excellent example how small step could change the world.

Agrivi farm management software also tends to the change in the global food production. With belief that knowledge must be available to all farmers, Agrivi gives strong knowledge base of the best practices for over 100 different crops. The software allows farmers to monitor all their activities; from fertilization, crop protection, work hours of workers, machinery, to finance and powerful analysis of complete farm production.

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