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Diaspora volunteers Mo and Tim reach Njala University to meet our dedicated Njjala student volunteers and collect Azolla for Hope Sakuma, our demonstration farm in Sanda Magbolontor.

The team now, nine strong (!) and led by our two Mohammeds and Yao have successfully recruited some women students who have reserached the agricultural benefits of Azolla and who hold the little miracle plant in the palm of their hands. Mo relays the praise from the leading experts at the Azolla Foundation for the team's diligence and ingenuity in finding and identifying Azolla .pinata in the swamps of Njala.

Mo, Mohammed and Yao scoop up some Azolla to transport in a coolman for the afternoon's drive to Karene, where we hope to show how this little miracle plant can boost yield and reduce subsitence farmers costs who grow rice in inland valley swamps.

Adjacent to the pool is a very suitable site for growing rice and Azolla and the team agree to talk to the faculty about developing this in the autumn with bundings if funding permits.

On the walk back to the 4x4 the team discuss the potential for a joint project to bring a range of bio-fertilzer to market. Mo was interested to see that leaves from the neem tree were already being researched at Njala and the students were very pleased to learn from Mo how to make neem cake from the fruit, an even more effective slow-release fertilzer, widely used in India.

Crossing the Mabanta by hand-pulled ferry, our trusty 4x4 and Njala Azolla reach Sanda Magbolontor and the site of our demonstration farm, Hope Sakuma named after the stream that threads it's way thru the chiefdom feeding the Mabanta and then on into the Little Scarcies river.

A quick site risk assessment sees grass added to the drainage mud of each paddy as well as the head bund to act as a filter preventing Azolla reaching waterways and then Diaspora volunteer Mo, Engineer Amara and the Makelekos All-Stars FBO scatter Azolla collected from Njala swamps into two of our six paddies newly transplanted with nerica L19 rice seedlings.

We're keen to see how quickly this little miracle plant will grow and witness how, as the leaves of the rice grow big, the Azolla dies back releasing nitrogen just as the rice seed sets.

Returning the next day the team add small amounts of Triple Super Phosphate (0-48-0) to help the Azolla settle in. One paddy will be treated with NPK 20-20-20 and urea as a control to compare growth and yield - fertilizers, which at 250,000+ leones a bag, are out of reach for most Sierra Leone farmers - and the remaining three paddies will receive combinations of Azolla, chicken manure, blood, fish and bone and potash.

Esteemed Engineer Amara shows us Hope Sakuma's nursery beds for our first six paddies, flushing shades of green with sequentially planted with Nerica L-19 rice seed, a row and a half for each paddy, enabling the heavy work of tilling the soil by hand to be spread out, as well as extending Hope Sakuma's harvest time!


Please and share our sustainable farming journey empowering rural women with climate-smart technology to improve nutrition, food security, livelihoods and adaptation in Sierra Leone.

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