In the village of Mudjoga, in North Kivu, DRC, farmers have devised an innovative agricultural competition inspired by football.
The competition is called “agricultural match” and it consists of farmers demonstrating the application of certain cultivation practices. The exercise itself is inspired by football, or “soccer”. It pits farmers against each other in a friendly competition where each demonstrates an agricultural technique. They are supervised by a jury of judges and the president of an organization called Action for the Development and Conservation of Biodiversity (ADECOB) who plays the role of referee, another farmer who acts as a judge, another farmer who guides and trains them, whom they call coach, and finally they are assisted by other curious farmers from the village. This last group acts as spectators, just like at a football match in a stadium.
Before the match, the rules of the game are defined by the jury. During the actual match, the referee and judge are there to ensure that the rules are followed. They are also there to give a red or yellow card to any athlete who tries to violate the rules.
On Friday 15 July of this year, the competition involved 6 athletes; 2 men and 4 women who focused on pest control in a potato field. During the match, the players had to spray the plants with plant protection products.
During 90 minutes, the jury of judges focused on the following points:
- The choice of plant protection products used according to the context of the drought, the life stage of the plant and the equipment used;
- The wearing of equipment (gloves, masks, goggles, etc.);
- Product dosage, mounting, carrying, handling;
- The number of litres of solution that a player was able to spray on the plants;
- The respect of the targeted organs on the plant when spraying the product;
- The athlete’s attention to not trample the plants;
- The record time that the player takes to use up 120 litres of the solution made available to him/her during the 90 minutes included.
At the end of the match, the winners were ranked according to the jury’s criteria as follows
- Sadiki BAKAMBWE champion of the competition ;
- Morogoro NDAMWIRA second in the competition ;
- Ndukuru NDAMWIRA third in the competition ;
- Sifa NDABUNDU ;
- Furaha NDAKAVURO ;
- Baziga SEBURAKEYE.
According to the president of ADECOB, Mr Gaston AMANI: “This competition … aims at valuing agriculture and the farmer. It aims to bring the farmer to become proud of what he is and of his profession, in order to make it a pure means of self-dependence, self-support.”
John TSONGO and Jean-Baptiste MUSABYIMANA