Day 2 – Visit to IPR station and video dissemination
On the second day, it was the farmers’ day at the IPR station. The producers, accompanied by researchers and partners, visited the trial fields where three practices were presented:
- Biomass transfer with three woody species used: Guiera Senegalensis, Piliostigma Reticulum and Gliricidia Sepium used on Sorghum crops to see its effect,
- Cultural association with rotation on Faidherbia Albida to see the effect of crops on woody plants,
- Alley cropping, two lines of Gliricidia Sepium and cowpea was cultivated between each row.
During the visit, the researchers let the farmers cut branches of Gliricidia, because it is a foreign plant that is very popular with the farmers. If you don’t have the seed, you must plant a branch to propogate a whole tree.
Gliricidia Sepium is a leguminious plant, meaning it has the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. Producers use it as a mulch to fertilise the soil, one farmer explained the process: “You cut the leaves and spread them on the ground, they decompose more quickly. When you use a tonne of this species in a month, it decomposes and enriches the soil. Farmers also use it as fodder for their livestock, they take the leaves, put them in the shade, and once they are dry, remove the leaves and feed that to the livestock.”
Dramane Diarra, a farmer from the village of Mafia in Koulikoro, considers Gliricidia a multi-purpose tree. He uses it in his agricultural production to improve the fertility of his soils and the yield of his crops, he explains: “In my plots, I place the leaves between the rows of millet, maize and sorghum crops, the leaves decompose and mineralise and the crops benefit. For the past five years, I have had a field of Gliricidia in my plot every year. I use the leaves as mulch.”
It is important to disseminate these kinds of practices. Dramane’s ambition is to spread this mulching technique throughout Mali, and he has already started to raise awareness among farmers in his village and the surrounding area about the benefits of Gliricidia for crops and livestock.
The producers had some concerns about the specifics of the technique, e.g., the biomass transfer period, the quantity to be used for each crop and the period of application, among others. However, they welcomed the initiative, which is why they wanted to participate in this farmers’ day, as they feel that these are practices they can easily carry out in their fields. With the high fertiliser cost in recent years, these innovative techniques are an alternative.
As in Senegal and Burkina Faso, micro SD cards were distributed to producers. These cards contain nine learning videos in the Bambara language on integration, cultivation, shrubbery and animal husbandry. Access Agriculture produced them> see ‘Farmer-to-farmer training videos translated into local languages‘ for more information.
This dissemination event ended with the second edition of the agroecological farmers’ fair in the commune of Ouelessegou and Tamala, organised by AMSD, the Malian Association for Solidarity and Development, in the framework of the SustainSahel project. The aim of this fair is to promote farmers’ knowledge and agroecological and agroforestry practices, thus enabling producers and breeders to integrate certain agroecological practices.
During this day, the women of Ouelessegou and Tamala were trained to prepare an organic fertiliser called Bokachi. “If producers are to make an agroecological transition, they must be accompanied and trained in alternative practices, such as the preparation of organic Bokachi fertiliser and the preparation of bio-pesticides to fight against insect attacks and others and to fertilise the soil”, explains Hamidou Almamy Diawara, President of AMSD.
The AMSD association wants to ensure that agroforestry and agroecology can be integrated into a circular fashion until producers understand that climate change is a handicap for sustainable development by integrating these concepts and practical solutions to feeding people with components adapted to their environment and accesible to all.
Given the geographical situation, some producers thought it was inappropriate to develop market gardening and cereal production in Ouelessegou and Tamala. The AMSD has shown the opposite: “Whatever the geographical situation, people must develop adaptation techniques, and this is what we have shared with the producers. In addition to agroforestry and agroecology, we have developed models of organic agriculture, fish farming, market gardening, and nurseries for reforestation campaigns each winter season,” says Almamy Diawara.
The AMSD intends to popularise these good practices, as the association believes they will enable the population to fight against poverty and reduce the negative impacts of climate change in these areas.
Written by: Ndeye Fatim Lô, Communication specialist at CSE.
Dissemination events in Senegal and Burkina Faso – October 2022
Farmer-to-farmer training videos translated into local languages – September 2022