Organic agro training
High cost of farming inputs like fertilizer and pesticides, remain the biggest obstacle for African smallholder farmers to expand. Jacana through a project named ‘From auto pilot to Champion farmer’ sponsored by AFAS Foundation, conducted a training. The training focused on organic fertilizer making and organic pest and disease management.
6 farmers were taken through a training on making of 4 different types of organic fertilizers, namely; Berkley, Bokashi, Lab serum and Liquid tea fertilizer.
Unlike commercial fertilizers which are expensive for most smallholder farmers; organic fertilizers utilize materials that are readily available within the farmers homestead: farm animal manure, crop residues and a few inexpensive materials such as milk, sugar or molasses and baker’s yeast that can be sourced from local shops. The training was characterized by a theory session and 80% hands-on activities and skills transfer.
Alice Chilembo’ mixing different organic materials
Organic fertilizers present a solution in the fight against hunger. It is not only economically viable but also environmentally friendly. By the use of organic fertilizers, smallholder farmers manage to produce enough crops to ensure food security and provide a steady flow of income at home. The use of these organic fertilizers, does not only significantly improve crop yields, it also improves the microbial life in the soil and it conserves the water resource. Prudent use of natural resources will in the long run ensure that, future generations manage to produce food on the same pieces of land being cultivated today.
“Where has Jacana been this whole time? These are the inorganic fertilizer alternatives we need as farmers”, says Jabyson Chongwe
After learning about the Bokashi method of making organic fertilizer and just having finished making a Barkley compost heap during training, Jastone Zimba commented:
“From today onwards, I’ll ensure that my family does not burn any crop residue, no wastage!”
Pests and disease management training
The other part of the training focused on management of pests and diseases using botanical pesticides in combination with cultural practices that focus more on prevention of pests and disease in crop production. Farmers appreciated the effectiveness of practices like crop rotation, use of clean seeds and planting material and intercropping of crops from different taxonomic families.
A practical session was done where farmers were guided on how to make 2 different types of botanical pesticide; the chilli spray and papaya spray.
Temelelani is pounding papaya roots and unripe fruit
These alternative methods of pest control if well practiced have the potential to significantly reduce costs on managing plant pests and diseases, thereby increasing the farmer’s income realized from the sale of their produce. Botanical pesticides are made from naturally occurring plant materials and inexpensive substances. Apart from being affordable, biological pesticides are environmentally friendly, not harmful to nature. The use of bio-pesticides not only encourages biodiversity to flourish but also ensures a safe and healthy environment for human beings.
The knowledge on pest and disease management was received with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. One of the farmers, Anderson Mkhalipi, wished he knew about these methods of pest control much earlier in his gardening carrier. However going forward, he is so eager to practice what he learned from the training.
Also you can benefit from this knowledge, just download the manuals from our web-site.