Archive for March, 2011

Agroprocessing and Value Addition!

In order to impart practical skills and capacities in methods of value addition and agro processing Participatory ecological land use management (PELUM) association organized a 3 day training workshop for member organizations and farmers.
Necofa was represented by a programme coordinator, one female farmer from Lare pumpkin presidia and an intern with the organization Heva Brunelle from Canada.
With many farmers at community level, agricultural production has substantially improved. Even where production is low, there is a need to extend the storage of certain foods and thus lengthen the shelf life when the foods are in season in order to prevent wastage due to excess production. The legendary case of vegetables is a good example where they continue selling at throw-away farm gate prices during the wet season and are unavailable during their drier months.
The organizers found it necessary for community group trainers to acquire the skills and knowledge of diverse methods of food preservation, value addition and agro processing that is practical and possible at household level.
The participants were engaged in practical cooking lessons of typical food products like sweet potatoes chapati and vegetables, pumpkin chapati and mandazi, fried arrow roots, yoghurt, making of fruit juices and soya bean meat and milk .
At the end of the workshop, the participants had realized how they can engage their communities to improve their livelihoods, by moving a step further in getting ready for agribusiness and value chain engagements.

Climate change Interventions!

Climate change phenomena is a complex and challenging global issue.  These changes has greatly impacted on the agricultural production and other related activities especially to  small scale farmers who wholly depend on rain fed  agriculture.

Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) works with community groups, promoting environmental friendly concerns for poverty eradication, food and nutrition security.  During its activities with the groups, the organization learnt the impact posed on communities livelihoods hence necessitated the need for capacity building on climate issue.   Some of the groups involved in the programme included Tazama Mbele Self Help Group, Karunga women group, Utugi Self help group and Nganoine self help group.

A challenge leads to invention, after going through different lessons on importance of respecting our environment, the groups has taken different initiatives to enhance mitigation and adapt   to climate change i.e. Nganoine and Utugi self help groups are growing drought resistant crops e.g. pumpkin, sorghum and indigenous vegetables.  Besides growing the crops, they have also taken initiative of adding value e.g. drying pumpkins and grinding to flour to prolong the shelf life.  The flour is used to blend other types of flour and make stew  to improve the nutrition value.

Other groups like Karunga women group, Tazama Mbele, Vision self help group and others with support from Necofa established indigenous tree nurseries in focus to rehabilitate forest and also plant on individual farms.  Besides rehabilitation of the forest, the groups will sell to the community at affordable price hence ensuring sustainability of the project.  To date the groups has nurseries with a total of more than 20,000 seedlings each  which are ready for planting.