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Sitting in the shade Farm Coordinator Sheku, Hassan and Mohammed from JICA are catching a rest to confer on GPS farm surveys of Hope Sakuma's 14 inland valley swamp sites with Mr Fofanah from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, to carry out technical surveys to identify the best sites suitable for demonstration farms each serving 5-7 neighbouring villages.

The first potential site to be surveyed is Magbolontor with 11 acres of IVS which with bunding and proper irrigation channels can produce rice three times a year.

Coming to Mamatay and Kamalo inland valley swamp the team take a break from their survey patrol to watch Hope Sakuma's Kamalo chairlady processing palm oil the traditional way by squeezing the fibres after pounding the nut.

Then on to the villages IVS site with the land owner - in the white gown - and the team find another inland valley swamp with good potential, this time with 14 acres for a demonstration farm.

The survey patrol concludes in the Hope Sakuma heartlands of Manays where Mr Fofanah from MAF surveys the site with GPS, this time joined by a BRACS engineer and they find a perfect mix for a 40 hectare demonstration farm of upland (58%) boli land (30%) and IVS (11%) with the remainder virgin forest.

With rainy season coming in the next few weeks a plan is agreed to begin work in November to construct a demonstration farm and permanent farmer field school in Manays with two hub IVS demonstration farms at Maketay and Magbolontor. But we wonder how far we could get before rainy season starts if we started now....


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