Marshal Papworth graduate improves cassava cultivation in Kenya
Student case study
Name: Florence Achieng Agunda
Course: Marshal Papworth short course in Sustainable Agriculture 2019
University: Harper Adams University
In April 2019, Florence Achieng Agunda from Kenya travelled to Harper Adams University, England, to take part in agricultural develop charity the Marshal Papworth Fund’s 10-week scholarship course in sustainable agriculture. Speaking from Kenya just over a year later, Florence says:
“My training at Harper Adams has been invaluable over the last year, 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.” Florence has to-date trained 89 women and 43 men in seven cassava training groups and has also been able to demonstrate simple soil testing methods.
As well as the practical farming knowledge that Florence returned home to Kenya with, she also praises the wrap-around skills that were built into the specially devised Marshal Papworth course. “It’s great to go home with skills that will help me and my community to grow out of hunger, but without the presentation and leadership training I wouldn’t have been able to so successfully reinvigorate my training group, which was struggling but is now performing at its best.” Florence has extended this skill with taking part in Gender Champion training in Kenya.
A key part of the Marshal Papworth short course is supplementary farm visits, and Florence has been able to simulate this in Kenya to complement training with her own groups, organising field days and exchange visits with other farmers to see new technology and practices and how they work in reality. Florence says: “In the UK I learned so much about farming from visiting other farms and speaking to farmers, and I’m pleased to encourage this with my training groups. I have also benefitted from my fellow Marshal Papworth alumni; we constantly exchange ideas and the performance of different practices, which means I can make sure I am passing on the very best to my training groups.”
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