How Farmers’ Clubs in Mozambique are improving farm productivity
To conclude the series of blogs we have posted in line with COP23, which took place in Bonn last week, Humana People to People is showcasing a final example of how members across the world are working at community-levels to mitigate the environmental and human impact of climate change.
In Mozambique, Humana People to People is doing just that. Via Humana People to People’s programs, farmers in Mozambique are equipped with the tools and mechanisms needed to strengthen their capacity to be resilient to the negative effects of global warming.
Farmers’ Clubs Sofala and Zambezia focus on creating sustainable agricultural development among the rural small-scale farmers in Sofala and Zambezia provinces. Established in Mozambique in 2014, to date there have been 15,565 farmers that are actively involved in the program, which can be sub-divided in to 312 clubs of 50 farmers each in Caia, Maringue, Nicoadala and Namacurra districts.
The rural small-scale farmers are trained in climate change resilience to strengthen capacities in mitigating, and adapting to, the effects of global warming. Humana People to People uses 624 demonstration fields, of which half are for dry land crops and half for horticulture production, to conduct training in conservation agriculture. The project has established 292 rope-pump supported wells to increase access to water for farmers and communities, which is used in both households and for crop irrigation all year round. Each well serves up to 100 people.
Benedito Joaquim, a Farmers’ Club member, had this to say:
“I’m a member of Wandana Farmers’ Club since 2014. I want to express my upmost gratitude to ADPP Mozambique Farmers’ Clubs project for teaching me how to produce vegetables, utilise line planting, and prepare composts that increase yields. In 2016, I successfully harvested vegetables throughout the year, allowing me to feed my family and earn an income from the sale of excess vegetables on the local market. From the income, I have been able to buy iron sheets that I have used as a roof for my house, and to buy school materials for my two children.”
Farmers’ Clubs across Mozambique are also providing small-holder farmers with equipment that can speed up agricultural production and increase incomes. The provision of grinding mills is one example that has greatly facilitated local agricultural production. Benedito reported:
“Today I am thrilled to have a grinding mill within walking distance from my home. The grinding mill is owned by my club, and enables my community and I to process maize into mealie-meal as well as grind cassava. What’s more, we are able to store excess harvested grain in the common storage facility as we negotiate prices with agro-dealers. In the past, life was tough as I had to walk long distances in order to process my grains to feed my family.”
Another beneficiary of the club is 64-year old Mama Actinica. For her, the warehouse and the grinding mill came at the right time. No longer forced to walk long distances to find the nearest grinding mill, she expressed her gratitude:
“With the grinding mill installed at Malei, I’m able to grind maize and cassava right on my door step. The grinding mill also serves people who live in my neighborhood. It means that now I spend far less time on the road – whereas before I used to have to travel 10 km to get the service of a grinding mill, I can now use the mill locally and spend my time doing other things.”
Currently there are 10 Farmers’ Clubs that benefit from the common storage warehouse and the grinding mill. The grinding mill is run by the club and income earned from the mill is used to pay the guard, the miller and the book keeper thus contributing to job creation at a local level.
The main focus of COP23 has been around high-level intervention and international agreements such as the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which was spearheaded at this year’s conference by the UK and Canada to phase out coal power. However less emphasis was placed on what can be done at a grass-roots level to positively impact the lives of rural communities that wholly depend on the land. Initiatives such as the Farmers’ Clubs in Mozambique are evidence of the tangible difference that community-led initiatives can have. It is therefore in the interest of the international community to encourage greater action at a local level to mitigate climate change and support initiatives such as Humana People to People’s Farmers’ Clubs in continuing to make a positive impact in the future.