Recently, ECHO East Africa Regional Impact Center Director Erwin Kinsey and Technical Research Coordinator Bob Hargrave received a request from an ECHO network member to identify and propose control methods for a “new weed that is spreading and smothering trees and hedges.”
Companion planting is a form of intercropping, typically practiced in small-scale gardens, in which two or more species of plants are grown near each other for shared benefit. For example, shade-loving vegetables like lettuce can be grown under taller crops like maize or sunflower. Mixed plantings are established to boost crop productivity, diversify options for food and income generation, and improve gardens’ resilience under difficult growing conditions.
Dr. Floyd E. Dowell, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Center for Grain and Animal Health Research
Dr. Dowell is a Research Agricultural Engineer with the USDA ARS. He has about 30 years of experience developing technology to measure grain quality and improving food security in developing countries. He has over 20 years of experience in international agriculture, and is President of Planting Hope International, a non-profit charity that provides agricultural, medical, and educational support to people in developing countries. He has seen issues with aflatoxin in countries such as Kenya and Laos, where the lack of aflatoxin testing programs has affected human and animal health. Much of his experience is in measuring and maintaining grain quality. His interest in learning more about production agriculture in the tropical climates of developing countries led him to recently take the ECHO TAD course.
Editors: ECHO will be hosting a three-day workshop in September at our Florida campus, on the topic of small-scale livestock production in the tropics (see the “Upcoming Events” section for details). Our Global Farm incorporates many animals, including ducks, rabbits, chickens, pigs, and goats—so the workshop will be very hands-on and practical. In this article, ECHO staff member Brian Flanagan shares some of the reasons that farm animals are important to small-scale farmers; some constraints faced by these farmers; and information about Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW) and the difference they can make in farming communities.