Farmer-led soil innovations to sustain food production in Uganda
Duration: July 2014 – July 2017. This project has been finalized.
Summary of the results: For technology adoption, farmers need to be involved in the testing. This is exactly what the project allowed in relation to the three core aspects of Conservation Agriculture – zero tillage, crop rotation and continuous ground cover. The project identified 106 (75M, 31F) model farmers in the districts of Pader, Nwoya and Nebbi, Uganda. It built their capacity to carry out on-farm experimentation and “farmer to farmer” extension. Each model farmer had their soils tested and were then asked to list characteristics of a “good”, “moderate” and “poor” field in regard to soil fertility. This farmer indigenous knowledge was then compared with the lab assessment and a visual soil fertility classification tool was developed. As part of “Zerotillage” the use of glyphosate was promoted. This was popular with farmers and found to be cost effective due to labour savings for cultivation and weeding (3x’s to 1x’s). The technology spread quickly to the neighbours of model farmers. The trash left after spraying was an effective mulch and climate change impacts were reduced. Innovation was encouraged and farmers tested a number of new ideas in regard to conservation agriculture. The model farmers have become a focal point for farmer learning in their communities.
Aim: Establish the relationship between promising initiatives in the domain of Conservation Agriculture, the productivity of the farming systems and the sustainability and resilience of its land management; identify and develop methods for improving the effectiveness, sustainability and resilience of the local Conservation Agriculture initiatives; pursue capacity building trajectories for extension services and incorporate best methods in the farmer support and dissemination mechanisms.
Objective: Combat food insecurity for rural households.
Method: Participatory on-farm field testing, evaluations and fine-tuning with local farmers.
Dutch policy goal: Increase sustainable food production.