Mozambique program brings conservation agriculture to 1,000 more farmers

Mozambique program brings conservation agriculture to 1,000 more farmers

Farmers in FRB’s Mozambique Tete-Mutarara program are experiencing increased yields through conservation agriculture. Despite frequent droughts and flooding, many are finding ways to improve planting techniques and soil condition.

 

“But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” – Nelson Mandela

Since 2010, farmers in FRB’s Mozambique Tete-Mutarara program have been using conservation agriculture to mitigate the effects of drastic changes to weather patterns -- frequent droughts and flooding -- and increase their food production. They’ve learned to improve their soils with composting and mulching, and have reduced the need for scarce and expensive fertilizers. They’ve been increasing yields with closer and more orderly plant spacing that also makes weeding less labor-intensive. Many farmers are also able to produce vegetables in the dry season by accessing water from rivers with treadle pumps. And, by using locally-sourced inputs, they reduce their costs while strengthening their communities.

Building on the program’s success in equipping farmers to organize themselves into work groups that allow them to learn from and support one another, the program enters a second 4-year phase. One thousand farmers in ten new communities will learn about conservation farming, wetland management, and improved storage options. The program will further explore the use of biomass (crop residues) to increase soil fertility, recycle nutrients, control weeds, and break up compacted soil to allow moisture to soak in rather than run off in heavy rains.

The new program cycle will also introduce basic principles of nutrition to households, train farmers in the practice of “green manure” or cover crops to further enrich the soil, and encourage market linkages. Planned trainings will also cover drought-resistant crop varieties, crop diversification, improved management of wetland resources for dry-season irrigation, minimum tillage, and best practices in plant spacing and post-harvest storage.

The program reports great success, noting that participant farmers have acquired new skills and have become increasingly food secure over the last four years yet, as Nelson Mandela once said, “there are many more hills to climb.” All program farmers, whether experienced or new, will continue to have to work very hard to produce sufficient food for their families, and achieve increased and sustained food production. And conservation farming is giving them hope for the future.

Tete-Mutarara currently encompasses 10 communities, 1000 households, and 5000 individuals

06/27/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment