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Farmer Field Schools in Angoche and Moma Districts celebrate field days

June 9, 2015
Canhaua FFS members cheering for Conservation Agriculture

Canhaua FFS members cheering for Conservation Agriculture

During May, over 500 Farmer Field School (FFS) members from 20 FFS and 200 other community members participated in 7 Farmer Field Days across Angoche and Moma Districts. These Field Days, organized by the CARE WWF Alliance partner AENA, provided an opportunity for people in the community who are not involved in the FFS to find out more about conservation agriculture and disaster resilience.

Farmer Field Schools serve as a place for members to experiment with different crops and techniques, comparing what they have traditionally used in their own fields, with new practices of conservation agriculture. During the field days, members of the FFS explained the results they have seen in their experiments to their neighbors.

They also demonstrated the benefits of conservation agriculture through practical experiments. One was an erosion test done using two different plates, one with mulching and the other one without, to show the benefits of mulching retaining nutrients in the soil and helping maintain the ground .

Erosion test done by the FFS member to show the importance of mulching

Erosion test done by the FFS member to show the importance of mulching

Canhaua FFS members looking at a water absorption test done in a conservation agriculture plot. The water was absorbed faster, showing the benefits of using the techniques

Canhaua FFS members looking at a water absorption test done in a conservation agriculture plot. The water was absorbed faster, showing the benefits of using the techniques

“Based on all that I learned today, I want to open my own FFS in my area,” Jose Alfredo from Canhaua in Angoche District said.

He also added that he was very impressed by a brigade of FFS members from Canhaua who went to the area where he lives to explain some of the techniques.

Namame FFS members showing their fields to the people invited from the community

Namame FFS members showing their fields to the people invited from the community

All of the invitees also agreed on two major things. The first is that they are concerned with how the climate is changing, and how this is affecting their yields. The second is that conservation agriculture is easy to do, and the benefits are clear – and that these benefits help them adapt to climate change.

Many of the people invited to the field days agreed that they know that the low food production from their fields is in part their own fault because they are burning potentially valuable organic matter in their fields and depleting their natural resources, especially by cutting down forest to establish new fields or get timber. They also agreed that they would now apply the lessons learned from the field days, such as using minimum tillage and increasing the amount of organic matter on the soil instead of burning it, to prevent this problem from getting .

Female members of the FFS in Colocoto, Moma District

Female members of the FFS in Colocoto, Moma District

“We didn’t know that burning my field had a negative effect in food production,” the community members invited to the Colocoto field day said.

They added that now they know better.

After the benefits of conservation agriculture were explained and to the people invited to the event, the members of the FFS shared food with the community. These were meals prepared by a large group of people using some of the products from their fields such as peanuts, cassava leaves and different types of beans.

Team building exercise in Canhaua

Team building exercise in Canhaua

Corn from the field was served with plantains and cassava leaves

Corn from the field was served with plantains and cassava leaves

Cassava leaves boiling to make matapa

Cassava leaves boiling to make matapa

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