Attention Getter:--Africa – everyone knows where Africa is located, and some may even know where certain countries in Africa are.--Can any of you say you have honestly ever thought about the agriculture in Africa, though?--Not shocking that most people never have.Intro:--Small-scale farming extremely important to the livelihoods of African citizens.--Expected to provide food for their own families.--Start by providing a short background on small-scale farming in Africa; then present some of the issues at hand.
Africa is considered a developing nation (also referred to as a third world country).--Characteristics include poverty and low employment rates.Farming is mainly small-scale.--Commercial farms are not usually seen throughout the countries.Small-scale farming does not lead to food security, though.--Stakeholder Justin Jefferson said this is “due to unreliable weather and farmers lack of knowledge about effective farming practices.”--Also, as presented in an article from Duggar in 2006, farmers are continuously growing crops on the same land. -Leads to depletion of nutrients and the soil cannot regain these nutrients.All pictures in this presentation are courtesy of Justin Jefferson. (All pictures taken in Rwanda.)
Two different issues present with this topic.First is the farming practices.Organic versus conventional farming practices.--This issue was focused on during issue brief research and writing.Second issue is in relation to farming styles used.Individual (small-scale farming) versus cooperative farms.--This issue was presented during stakeholder interviews.
When it comes to organizations, they do not favor conventional or organic.--Organizations include the MEAS project funded by the USAID and non-governmental organizations like PROCOM Rwanda.Focus on what is best for the farmers.
Straightforward quote from Jefferson about what they do for farmers through PROCOM Rwanda.
President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa wants to increase the use of fertilizer to increase the quality of soil by the year 2020.--Use more conventional methods overall to help build small-scale farming.
Duggar points out that fertilizer is much too expensive, though.Both Duggar and Andrea Bohn (expert stakeholder) present the fact that most African countries have a weak infrastructure.--This means that there are no major roads or rivers to transport items around the countries.
Now is the issue of small-scale (individual farmers) versus cooperative farms.--The MEAS project focuses on individual farmers. -Each family provides for themselves.--PROCOM Rwanda focuses on cooperatives. -Advantages: Cooperatives allow citizens to put money together to buy a tractor. Also,, have more hectares to grow crops on. -Disadvantages: Farmers don’t understand modern practices and boundary lines.
Quote from organization stakeholder, Jefferson, that states how difficult it is to get African farmers to trust each other.--Farmers think that removing a boundary lines means they lose ground.--Have to explain that they still own same amount of land; just easier to farm without so many boundary lines.
Examples of tillage and planting equipment used by PROCOM Rwanda.--Can see how different it is from farming equipment in the United States.
Communication is necessary between different organizations.--Must decide if individual farmers or cooperatives are more effective.When the two projects have more accomplishments, they also must decide if organic or conventional practices are better.--This may take a long time to determine.
Two more pictures from PROCOM Rwanda.--Can see difference in the shed they use to sheds in the United States.