Tag Archive for small-scale farmers

Br. Paul Desmarais, SJ: Reaping the Benefits of Organic Farming in Zambia

Desmarais-PaulFor 40 years Br. Desmarais has run the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) in Zambia. But over the last 20 years Br. Desmarais has rethought almost every aspect of conventional Western agriculture and how it’s applied in Africa.

Plows, tractors, chemical fertilizers and commercial herbicides were once all part of Br. Desmarais’ gospel of modern agriculture. But no more. The Canadian Jesuit now promotes organic, ecologically sustainable, no-till farming for small-scale farmers.

Church wants better land policy for smallholder farmers

_DSC0783These is need for policy interventions beyond what the government is currently doing, The Catholic Church in Uganda has said. Speaking during the official opening of a national conference on “Access to land, Usage and Food Security: Securing livelihoods of smallholder farmers” held in Kampala in April 2015, the Secretary General of Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), Msgr. Dr. John Baptist Kauta, pointed out that cases of land conflicts and disputes are on the rise; adding that there are recurring cases of families and communities being evicted from registered lands across many districts in Uganda. “Land conflict mitigation machinery, particularly the judiciary, the police, the land boards, land committees are overwhelmed by increasing number of cases, their varying nature and complexities,” said Msgr Kauta.

Organic farming method produces record yields

post_organicFarmingAn organic planting system developed by a Jesuit Priest is lauded as one of the most important developments for small scale farmers in 50 years.

Sumant Kumar, a farmer in the village of Darveshpura in northeast India’s state of Bihar, usually harvested four to five metric tons of rice per hectare, which is about the paddy yield average, worldwide. However, in 2011, with techniques that use organic fertilizer and no herbicides or GMOs, and which require less water and seeds, he astonishingly grew 22.4 metric tons, a world record, on just one hectare.

Promising Practices

Minolta DSCPromising Practices brings together the collective knowledge of SCIAF Programme Officer Stephen Martin and the four Zambian organisations that partnered with SCIAF to deliver the Promotion of Rural Food Security Programme (PRFSP) to look at the successes and lessons which came out of the programme

The experience, dedication and commitment of Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre, Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Caritas Livingstone and Caritas Mongu, supported by Catholic Relief Services have laid the foundations for making the PRFSP a success.

How a History of Exploitation has turned into a Sustainable Industry

yeba-mate-plantYerba mate has been a part of South American culture for many centuries. It is a communal ‘Drink of the Gods’ that is deeply rooted in the tradition of many people groups. The Misiones region in Argentina is one of the largest producers of yerba mate, which comes from the leaves of this medium sized tree. It was native to this area and grown small scale for consumption by the local people. However, when Europeans arrived in the Americas in the 15th century, they brought with them some drastic changes. Jesuit priests who established religions missions in the area observed the local Guarani people consuming this beverage. They learned about its nutritious and energizing properties and quickly adopted its use.

Sustainable Agriculture

P2050931-640x218Most farmers in the world own less than five hectares of land. Known as small-scale farmers, they feed one third of the global population, providing up to 80% of food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Yet small-scale farmers, many of who are women, face heavy challenges to survive from day to day, among them land tenure problems, rising food prices, export-led agriculture, and the use of land to grow internationally desired commodities rather than food.