By Daniel Kandy
Since last year we’ve been collecting information about agricultural innovations from NGOs, farmers, researchers, and policymakers all over the world (survey in English and French). We continue to receive results from the survey and have included a few of the recent responses below.
Since last year we’ve been collecting information about agricultural innovations from NGOs, farmers, researchers, and policymakers all over the world. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)
From Kumdambashree in India:
Kerala state in India is known for its aggressive efforts to rid the region of poverty. Kumbadashree, which means “prosperity of the family,” is an organization dedicated to addressing the basic needs of women through empowerment, entrepreneurship, and micro-credit. It has been operating since 1998 and now covers about 50 percent of households in Kerala.
Dr. Shahul Salim has developed an “Integrated Livestock Livelihood Initiative” “with the aim of increasing the daily income of women as an anti-poverty strategy.” The women are able to access credit to purchase livestock, as well as the training necessary to run a successful business.
From the JTS in France:
The French company Les Semences du Jardin Tropical (Seeds of the Tropical Garden) has created a system that it hopes will allow people living in tropical regions to produce healthy vegetable gardens. The Le Jardin Tropical Ameliore (Improvement of Tropical Gardens) system is an innovative tool kit that includes seeds adapted to tropical conditions, gardening tools that are inexpensive and easy to maintain, and the training necessary to raise those seeds in what can be difficult growing conditions.
Tropical gardens are a way for families and communities to gain access to food at a low cost and in a sustainable way. Jean Marie Cordier, founder of Les Semences du Jardin, made it his mission to “fill gaps in the supply of inputs for agriculture, by proposing, through the gardens, a response to more basic needs of the tropics.”
These efforts have paid off. With a surface area of just 60 square meters, a small household plot can produce 700 kilograms of vegetables annually using 200 liters of water and with an average of two hours of work per day. The basic kit includes plastic sheets, covers for seed germination and plant growing, a drip irrigation system, fertilizer, a soil water retainer, a watering can with a fine spray nozzle, and a cord and dibber, all costing about €400.
From Foundation for Farming in Zimbabwe:
The Zimbabwe-based Foundations for Farming (formerly Farming God’s Way) is a faith-based organization that aims to teach a simple conservation farming method that will help the rural poor of Zimbabwe not only have access to food, but generate income and escape poverty.
The group’s founder, Brian Oldreive, was managing a farm nearing bankruptcy. He was using tillage extensively to manage his weeds, but the technique led to soil erosion, and soon his yield was in decline while his use of expensive inputs was increasing. He switched to no-till farming, in which planting and harvesting takes place without digging up the ground, and found that his yields increased while the soil erosion and water loss decreased. The training that Foundations for Farming offers stresses the importance of natural mulch cover on a farmer’s field. Throughout the year, mulching helps conserve moisture and encourages microbial development, ensuring a natural, undisturbed micro-system for healthy plant growth
Oldreive made it his mission to teach the practice to local communal farmers. The results have been positive. As extension worker Lowden Stoole explains, “In many instances yields of maize have been increased from a few hundred kilograms per hectare to two tonnes per hectare in one season.”
Daniel Kandy is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.