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  • Writer's pictureAfrinspire

Farmers Training in Iringa

Updated: Nov 15, 2019


How can you make a farm more productive?

This is the question that Afrinspire partner Paul Kyalimpa set out to answer during a training workshop for 49 people at the Amani Centre in Iringa, Tanzania.

The workshop's focus was on sustainable agricultural development. At the end of the five-day workshop, the participants had been taught about how to develop integrated intensification farms. This was done through question and answer, the use of visual aids, discussions, comparisons of traditional and newer methods for sustainable intensification agriculture, and most importantly, practicals - all in Swahili.

Participants were taught about a number of ways to increase sustainable production:

· the use of appropriate farm mechanization, namely donkeys or oxen

· the use of farm-made manure.

· high-value crops

· keeping chickens, pigs, cattle, bees, and fish

· the use of farm buildings such as livestock houses

· the basics of animal feeding

· irrigation tools such as plastic pipes for drip irrigation

An example of a movement from traditional practices to increased sustainability is planning for future animal feed, rather than using nomadic practices which are subject to change.

Participants were taught about the negative effects of wind and rain erosion, and how this could be reduced through conservation agriculture. There was a focus on how to turn an existing traditional farm into a sustainable one, by doing on-farm research, adopting new technologies and practices, giving workers new skills, and using appropriate equipment.

New technologies and practices include on-farm manure making (compost, liquid manure, and plant tea), raised bed, pit-hole farming, panda juu gardening, and irrigation systems. Participants were taught about production practices relating to livestock, including livestock manure management, a free range system, zero grazing systems, and a cut and carry livestock feed grass system.

Paul gave a practical demonstration of the planting of banana seeds in an irrigated pit hole. He spoke about other ways to increase biodiversity and income, including manure production and crop rotation. Teaching also covered the mineral cycle of an organic farm, and how the nutrient uptake of crops can be returned to the soil via manure. He covered the negative impacts of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, and how the integration of cereal and cattle farming can increase profits.

Paul is an expert farmer from Kyenjojo in Uganda. He has tried all these ideas on his own farm and distilled his knowledge into a book which he uses as his training manual. Most importantly, he's always able to adapt his training to achieve maximum benefit for the specific people or locality with which he works.

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