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PITA Project Has Opened Our Eyes 2018-08-13

Guest Post from ECHO East Africa
By Sophia Kasubi

Students and teachers from various schools are beneficiaries of the ECHO training through the Finnish-funded PITA project say that the project teaches them about sustainable integrated agriculture.

“It has opened our eyes to see farming in a different perspective.”

In Meru district where this project is offered, farmers grow bananas and coffee in the highlands, and maize and beans in the lowlands. Many are also involved in small commercial horticulture. They mainly depend on surplus for cash but primarily focus on food crops, growing vegetables for many years for different purposes, especially those areas with good water sources which enable them to water their vegetables even during the dry season. In the past the population was low and there was plenty of land. Now many lack adequate land or water, and self-reliant vegetable production is no longer so easy; many people have sold their land or inherited very small parcels, causing them to be discouraged from gardening. An increase of crop pests, higher costs of inputs, and a mentality that farming is not for aspiring youth has hindered youth engagement in home production of vegetables. In recent years many families struggle with malnutrition in the area.

The PITA project has enabled ECHO to reach a wide audience, facilitating sharing of different techniques of establishing home gardens and school gardens which are fun. Targeting students and teachers, participants are encouraged to share their knowledge with their families back home and use the techniques to produce more vegetables for their school feeding programs. Through the process of learning, students and teachers have shared how their view have changed on the importance of knowing various types of gardening technologies. This knowledge can help in solving problems which exist in their communities.

Gardens introduced include sack garden, key hole gardens and double dug beds, perennial vegetables, and conservation agriculture in the different schools. A mindset change is occurring as students and teachers learn practices of growing vegetables. Students and teachers have thanked the PITA project coordinators for bringing such a different kind of training in , their district, and thanks also to ECHO staff for facilitating and empowering them to learn new techniques of farming.

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Hotel Gamma Xalapa Nubara, México

Join us August 14-18, 2018 for the 11th World Bamboo Congress. This global event will take place in the beautiful city of Xalapa, in the state of Veracruz, at the Gamma Xalapa Nubara Hotel. The host of the 11th WBC is the Bambúes y Forestales de México. The aim is to demonstrate the vast potential of bamboo in the Americas, and particularly Mexico, as well as showcase what’s happening around the world in bamboo development.  This academic event will bring the most up-to-date information and p...

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Fall Armyworm is here to stay. So, what can be done to address this threat to food security and farmer incomes? A key to effective management of FAW is farmer access to the full range of technologies used to control the pest. This webinar will walk through innovative tools available in Africa and how policies and the enabling environment play a critical role in allowing these tools to flow to farmers. This webinar will highlight Brazil’s success in addressing the Fall Armyworm (FAW) and...

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Did you know that of 250,000 identified plant species worldwide that only 30 species provide 95 percent of our global food energy needs? And that only three of these crops – wheat, maize and rice – provide half of the world’s food?   With severe weather extremes and other risks to global food security, many agricultural experts agree that global cropping systems should be as diversified as possible. As small-scale farms are particularly vulnerable to climatic and economic instability, u...

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Those interested in preparing for short to long-term involvement in international agriculture development are encouraged to participate in this five-day course.  Topics and discussions will be centered on improved food security and agricultural livelihoods for small-scale farmers in developing countries.  Participants will be introduced to the complexities related to poverty and community development.  They will also be introduced to principles and practices that contribute toward maintaining...

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