Conservation Agriculture Project – Improving Food Security
Lead by Hugo Pereira, Benvindo Napuanha and Tomas Buruwate
Improving food security is essential if conservation is to be successful in NNR. It is impossible to have a conversation about conservation when people are worrying about where their next meal is coming from.
The majority of people in NNR use slash and burn agriculture to provide their basic food needs for the year. Most soils in NNR have low fertility and after 5 – 7 years people move onto new areas. We work with farmers to improve productivity through the farmer field school (FFS) approach which encourages conservation agriculture – low tillage, mixed cropping and mulching – based on the model of C.A.R.E International. The responsibility to implement new methods, manage the land, and maintain the targeted agricultural plots is given over to the farmers in the program. They have the primary responsibility to keep records and assess results.
We have had a soil analysis done in the wet and dry season of fields and unconverted land to assess challenges; better understand low soil fertility and develop a focused plan to increase soil fertility or increase production by using alternative crops. The soil analysis report guides our activities. We test new crops in our extensive vegetable garden at Mariri Environmental Centre and have started an agroforestry program to recover fallow fields with local women growing trees from seeds that are “sold” to NCP and replanted.