Presentation on theme: "HOMESTEAD GARDENING What is new in LRAP? RSDA on behalf of local NGOs."— Presentation transcript:
HOMESTEAD GARDENING What is new in LRAP? RSDA on behalf of local NGOs
The story from local NGOs Rural Self-help Development Association (RSDA) Machobane Agricultural Foundation (MADF) GROW Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) Lesotho National Volunteers Commission (LNVC) Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Teba Development
What is new in LRAP? Homestead gardening has always been a common feature in Lesotho. So what is new in LRAP’s homestead gardening? LRAP has helped to bring together knowledge, experience and good practice on improved homestead gardening in Lesotho LRAP helped to bring awareness of the links between gardening and HIV/AIDS. The importance of vegetables and herbs in providing micro- nutrients to boost the immune system in the context of HIV and AIDS. LRAP has improved understanding of living positively. This has contributed to both local NGOs and farming households thinking practically about how to deal with the epidemic – working with individual households and new community groups eg support groups, OVC gardens etc In summary LRAP has brought a new meaning to food gardens.
The technologies promoted included Plot construction - raised plots, keyhole gardens, double digging, “peace gardens”. Different garden designs for different people Improving soil fertility - kraal manure, ash, mulching. Low external input. Cropping practices – Integrated pest control methods. Succession planting, crop diversity, Machobane farming system. All to promote a range of foods available at all times.
Key-hole garden Seen from the top it looks like a key-hole
Technologies promoted – cont. Inputs - better quality seeds more available (seed multiplication, seed banks, re-packaging seeds into smaller, more affordable packets, seed distributors linked to trading stores) Water harvesting and conservation – homestead dams, roof water tanks, drip irrigation kits, “peace gardens” Small livestock – eggs and poultry to complement nutritional value of vegetables and for income Marketing and food preservation – canning, drying, linking to local markets
NGO services offered to the gardening households Training Inputs such as seeds, water harvesting materials, drip irrigation kits and chickens. (but being careful about subsidies to ensure sustainability of the programme). On-going mentoring and technical advice Linking households to the UES and longer term government support Advisory services on marketing.
The development tools used The program emphasised working hand in hand with the beneficiary households to bring about changes required to assure food and nutrition security. The tools such as wealth ranking and action learning became very powerful for identifying vulnerable households and motivating households to move from lower poverty ranking to the next one and to grow. LRAP was not only about working with existing innovations but it was about also creating new learning. The farming households and NGOs were able to socialize useful and good practices among themselves and ourselves respectively. Documenting: lessons learnt were documented and produced in a gardening training materials.
Lessons Learnt –Techniques promoted are affordable as they use readily available natural resources e.g. manure, bones, farm and kitchen waste, ash, stones, aloe, grass etc. –Gardening can improved nutrition status of ill family members through variety vegetables, herbs, eggs and meat. –Investment costs are very small. One may start with R5.00, but lead in increased income (R30.00) through gardening. –Increased participation of men and children in gardening (traditionally, gardens are women’s domain) – Sustainable – people now have the skills to maintain their gardens. Some community gardens and peer to peer learning within the community to improve gardening techniques
Challenges How to retain and work hand in hand with the existing trained gardeners so that they may give a hand in training, motivating and mentoring more households. Market disposal for surplus. The strength of homestead gardening is in the numbers of participating households. The challenge is how to help them organize so that can bargain and market collectively. The same applies for bulk buying of seed and seedlings. Climate change and its impact on water shortage, planting calendar, pest management are factors which will remain a challenge until the farming households know how to manage them.
Policy recommendations Ecological production system as an economic option for Lesotho Mass communications to support adaptive research and dissemination of innovations Fabrication and transfer of appropriate technologies Seed policy