10 August 2021
Ladies take the lead on sustainable agriculture
Across developing countries worldwide, recipients of the UK-based Marshal Papworth Fund scholarships are leading the charge on helping communities ‘growing out of hunger’ through learning about sustainable agriculture, with several leading ladies spearheading the learning.
Since graduating the Marshal Papworth Fund 10-week course in sustainable agriculture at Harper Adams University in 2019, Florence Achieng Agunda from Kenya has trained around 100 fellow women in farming in her cassava training groups within her community.
Florence said: “My training at Harper Adams has been invaluable, enabling me to apply minimum tillage practices and develop good manure compost on my own farm, as well as intercropping cassava crops with beans to improve nitrogen levels in the soil at training farms that I lead with Self Help Africa.”
In Ghana and fellow 2019 graduate, Ramatu Saaka, is working with Marshal Papworth Fund charity partner Tree Aid on a project to train over 3,000 farmers on the role of compost and legume intercrop in improving cashew tree productivity in Bole District, Savannah Region, Ghana, as part of a wider directive to promote climate-smart sustainable agriculture in the region.
Ramatu said: “As well as the practical skills and knowledge that I gained during my Marshal Papworth scholarship, I was instilled with a profound spirit of volunteerism, which was key in motivating me to start implementing this project, even with limited resources. I was able to train on organic farming at Harper Adams University and the field trips that the Marshal Papworth Fund arranged to supplement our learning were key in providing me with the skillset and confidence to educate farmers in my community.”
Managed by the East of England Agricultural Society and formed in 2001 with funds bequeathed by the late Marshal Papworth, an East Anglian Farmer, the programme has to date provided agricultural scholarships for 215 students from developing countries at leading UK agricultural universities and colleges, all working towards helping developing countries across the world in ‘growing out of hunger.’
Graduating in 2018, Victorine Atieno credits the sustainable agriculture short course as critical to developing her understanding of soil health and successful commercialisation, which she now shares with her fellow farmers through her work for the Farmers Co-operative Society in Kenya. Victorine said: “I love investing in farming and currently I am working with 1,600 farmers organized into 64 women’s groups. They are keeping poultry and I help to train them on budgeting, marketing and soil testing. My scholarship in sustainable agriculture played a key role in understanding the challenges farmers go through, developing my skills to help farmers realise a level of consistency in whatever commercial farming enterprise they undertake.”
Working as a Development Facilitator with Marshal Papworth Fund’s charity partners Self Help Africa, 2019 sustainable agriculture short course graduate Charity Chimphamba Phiri is using her ‘train the trainer’ skills developed on the scholarship at Harper Adams University to work with over 200 ‘Field Farmer’ schools in Malawi. She said: “I would like to thank Marshal Papworth Fund for the training opportunity they gave me - the knowledge and skills gained from this training both in the university and on farm with British farmers, enabled me to successfully support over 6,300 fellow farmers in successful crop and livestock production.”
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