Members of the CARE US team and Roland Bunch visit Angoche
The Primeiras & Segundas program received a visit from two members of the CARE US Food and Nutrition Security team and Roland Bunch, a conservation agriculture expert.
Emily Janoch, knowledge management specialist, and Tonya Rawe, FNS policy analyst, who supports the CARE WWF Alliance work, visited Angoche seeing both the land and the seascapes.
The objective of the visit was to go to the field and see the work that the CARE WWF Alliance P&S program has done with our partners in the area of conservation, food security and risk reduction.
In Mucocoma, the visit saw mangroves destroyed by the community as a result of human-wildlife interaction.
“Even though mangroves provide storm protection, prevent erosion, and provide the habitat for small shellfish that form a large part of the local diet and income basis for the farmers in this area,” said Emily Janoch, “the monkeys stealing and destroying crops felt like a bigger immediate problem than possible storm damage in the future, so farmers burned down the mangroves.”
The team visited two other communities in the Angoche estuary where they discussed the potential establishment of a no-take zone in Polizica, the important role of mangroves in minimizing disaster and the concerns of the community over the dwindling number of fish.
“Seeing the estuary and mangroves first hand is just always helpful for being able to understand and then articulate to others the challenges communities face and the role that biodiversity and ecosystems play in their livelihoods and lives,” Tonya Rawe said. She explained that this is especially important in terms of the mangrove’s role in minimizing storm surge and as habitats for some sea species.
Roland Bunch, consultant and expert in conservation agriculture, joined the team to visit the landscape and three Farmers Field Schools (FFS) in the area. In Canhua, the team saw the fields planted with cassava, corn, mucuna, lab-lab and other types of beans. The members of the FFS explained the intercropping combinations of the different plots based on which was conservation agriculture and which were the farmer’s practices.
“ [FFS] gives farmers an immense opportunity, enabling them to have a place where they can learn and experiment,” said Tonya Rawe. “It is easier for farmers to feel free to experiment with different cultures and techniques when their livelihoods are not completely dependent on the field.”
She added that she was struck by the pride farmers feel towards explaining all the details of their work and what they have learned.
In Mussuceia the guests were welcomed in song by the members of the FFS. Some of the members were wearing the green shirts and caps, which proudly heralded that the person wearing them is a Graduado da Escola de Machamba do Camponês, or graduate from the Farmer Field School. The FFS members had invited other farmers interested in finding out more about conservation agriculture. Also, some of the graduates from the program are still practicing their skills and teaching what they have learned to others in this field. The senior members of the FFS played motivational games to entice the potential new members.
The members of the Mussuceia FFS shared local food from produce grown in the area with the guests. Matapa, a stew made of cassava leaves, was served with xima de caracata, a starchy meal made of dried cassava – a true sampling of conservation agriculture.