Improving food production through Conservation for Farming to eliminate hunger
In September 2015 the United Nations convened and formally signed up to the new Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 new Global Goals which renew the international commitment to work collectively to build on the progress achieved between 2000-2015 from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),(Banki- Moon, 2015). The new goals include key targets to be achieved by 2030 related to the reduction of poverty, eliminating hunger, Achieving higher economic growth and decent work, combating climate change and protecting land (United Nation, 2015).
In line with these Goals I had the privilege of training my colleagues (PPSSP staff) and church members from “CECA20 La Grace” in Goma, on the conservation for farming method. This was after I have attended regional workshops on behalf of my organisation (PPSSP) in 2014 and 2015 on Conservation Farming / Farming God’s Way in Zimbabwe. These workshops were organised and funded by TearFund Switzerland in collaboration with the Swiss Salvation Army. The Partner organisations of TearFund Switzerland and Swiss Salvation Army in Malawi, Uganda, DRC and Zambia joined for one week per workshop. These workshops were facilitated by the Foundations for Farming Zimbabwe.
The workshops aimed to equip delegates with the principles of conservation for farming. Central to the conservation for farming, the soil’s macro and microstructure remain, aerobic and anaerobic organisms are able to coexist in perfect balance (Oldrieve, 2006). This is because the soil is not disturbed (No ploughing) .Conservation for farming increase fertility because of the use of mulch covering the soil and therefore the mulch provides a natural way for decomposition to occur (no mulch burning) (Oldrieve, 2006). In addition, conservation for farming is highly cost effective. It is for these reasons that conservation for farming increase food productivity. When food productivity increases it creates a social, economic recovery, jobs for youth and people are able to respond to their needs. For example: food, clothing, transport and educating children. This differentiates conservation for farming from conventional farming (World Food Programme, 2011). Conventional farming destroys the natural make-up of the soil aggregate because it is ploughed. It destroys also organisms in the soil and water holding capacity is negligible because the mulch that holds water in the soil is burnt. It requires a high land cost preparation (ploughing) and people using it spend more than they receive (Oldrieve, 2006).
Having participated to these workshops and practice the model I saw the differences of conservation for farming and conventional farming methods but it may be worthwhile noting that despite the many benefits with the conservation for farming method; many people in Goma are still using conventional farming method and are facing low food productivity. Persistence of using conventional farming may be due to the lack of knowledge in conservation for farming and the fact that people have been using it for years and no one has told them about conservation for farming. From the experience I decided to share with colleagues and church members about conservation for farming. The first thing I did was to train PPSSP staff- church members and get a 6 by 6 m garden for demonstration. The training of PPSSP staff (my colleagues) took 3 days whereas the one for church members took four days with a field visit. The 6 by 6 m garden was established at my office and the whole staff was involved in the activities.
The Driver of PPSSP harvesting maize at PPSSP office
The main activities were: land preparation, putting mulch, putting manure and watering the garden as it was during dry season. The harvest was tremendously good. On this small space we were able to harvest 250 pieces of maize and 13 persons were able to get 10 pieces of maize. It is good to highlight that the implication of the staff was an essential factor that contributed to the success of this experience. People who were coming to the office were asking the chemical we used to grow the maize. The answers were simple and we were telling them that it was farming God’s way.
I have learnt from this experience that conservation for farming can contribute to the reduction of poverty because if a small space of 6 by 6 m can produce 250 pieces of maize which is equivalent to 30$ when the expenditures were 2$ then a big space can give more. Church members that were trained did not believe in conservation for farming before they saw this garden. This garden was a live experience and incentive for them to start applying conservation for farming. Therefore, the church (CECA20 La Grace) has borrowed a small land for demonstration but they are still limited by the lack of resources. I have learnt that if church members did not see the demonstration garden at the office they wouldn’t have borrowed the small land to apply this method.
Church members of CECA20 “La Grace preparing land” (After training)
The conventional farming method has been used in Goma for many years but this reflection has argued that it is not an effective way of improving food productivity as seen in previous sections (Korankye, 2014). But however, this reflection has argued and advocated for conservation for farming method for its effectiveness to increase food productivity thus contributing to the achievement of the global goals related to the reduction of poverty, eliminating hunger, Achieving higher economic growth and decent work, combating climate change and protecting land (Banki- Moon, 2015).
- Banki- Moon (2015) The Millennium Development Goals Report: United Nation
- Oldrieve, B. (2006) Trainer’s manual Zimbabwe-South Africa- Zambia-Malawi- Mozambique: Foundation for Farming
- Korankye, A. (2014) Causes of poverty in Africa: A Review of literature. American International Journal of social science, (3)147-153
Télécharger la version complète : Reflection on the conservation for farming