Amabest, Hassan and the Hope Sakuma team welcome the YIREWA team - Santigie, Alhadji and Momoh representatives from villages in Lower Ribbi chiefdom, Moyamba district, coming to our farmer field school teaching nature-based solutions to boost crop yield sustainably.
On crossing the Mabanta our visitors are welcomed into Sanda Magbolontor by some of the farmers they’ll be working and learning with in this week’s special farmer field school.
A visit to the Regent Chief, Pa Alimamy and Sanda Magbolontor Speaker to introduce our strangers and update the community about the farmer field school and maize project starting next year.
The YIREWA team visit Hope Sakuma's cassava and cashew farm, the largest in Karene, in the company of Alfred Fornah, Director of Society 4 Climate Change Communications, who explains to Santigie, Alhadji and Momoh how these two highly nutritous drought-resistant crops can help rural communities adapt to climate change.
Then Amabest takes Santigie, Alhadji and Momoh to two of Hope Sakuma's #Azolla pits - nicely replenished since the grand seeding of the new paddies.
And Amabest explains how Azolla reproduces and doubles in surface area every couple of days so can be harvested regularly to make a rich bokahsi fertilizer for vegetables planted after the rice, as well as a nutritious livestock feed.
Then onto the Hope Sakuma rice paddies, for the YIREWA team to see Azolla at work. Noting the reduced weeding time and lack of mosquitos, Amabest explains to our Moyamba guests how the unique Azolla bio-system, incorporating tilapia and ducks ensures the rice gets all the right nutrients at the right time in its growth cycle naturally with no need for chemical fertilizer or urea and the farmer gets nutritious and profitable ducks, eggs and fish to eat and sell boosting nutrition and livelihoods – it’s a system widely used in China, the Philippines, Vietnam and in Bangladesh, where more than 80,000 farmers have been lifted from poverty in just over 5 years using the sustainable system.
The second day of farmer field shool finds Amabest explaining to the YIREWA team from Moyamba the principles of land selection for bund and paddy construction before experienced farmers, Santigie, Momoh and Alhadji set to work clearing a patch of land, learning how to carefully measure and mark out a bund and irrigation channel with Amabest.
Then working alongside some of the Hope Sakuma team the guys construct a stretch themselves, mounding up the bund and irrigation channel and digging over some paddy.
A long afternoon sees the guys learning all about using bamboo drains to regulate the paddies water flow before marking out precision rows with Amabest and transplanting nerica rice seedlings, showing what quick learners the guys are putting theory into practice!
Before the guys take their leave and return to Moyamba, Amabest presents Santigie with some #Azolla to start a pit on their farm and trial with their rice, as well as some new variety cassava sticks to found their own cassava farm with the promise of more to come when Hope Sakuma's first harvest begins later this year.
The Moyamba team are supported by innovative Spanish NGO, YIREWA, focused on agriculture development and education, and who kindly paid the guys transportation to Karene and we look forward to sharing experiences of farming and green manure with each other and exploring avenues of collaboration.
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