Agriculture is essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth, employing over 65 percent of the continent’s labour force and accounting for 32 percent of gross domestic product. UK charity, Marshal Papworth, is educating individuals from developing countries in sustainable agricultural techniques, so that they can return to their home countries and apply what they’ve learnt in rural communities; helping to improve living situations and the health and wellbeing of communities, and working towards ending the poverty cycle.
Marshal Papworth’s 2015 graduates combined are now working with over 15,000 farmers in countries across Africa, including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi, helping to improve agricultural practices and yields in their home communities.
Since returning home, David Ogwang from Uganda has improved income opportunities for his local community by teaching integrated farm management to smallholder farmers. He has helped the community diversify the products offered, creating a new local market for eggs and milk, and has highlighted the benefits of animal welfare showing farmers that better quality animals result in superior products, improved returns, greater market demand and new customers.
David stated: “On completion of the Marshal Papworth 10-week Short Course I encouraged community mobilisation to improve farming techniques, there is still a long way to go, however knowledge and skills have already developed and a clear improvement in quality of life can be seen.”
Clare Omal, also from Uganda, has used the knowledge she gained through the Marshal Papworth Short Course to educate others in-country on new farming approaches. Together with the extension staff of her local district’s government she holds plant clinics, which include workshops and training in a number of areas aimed at helping farmers in the community to become more efficient.
Clare commented: “My focus during the plant clinics is to educate farmers in soil and water management, crop management and nutrition, and crop rotation.”
Malawi based Bakhita Mkwingwiri has to battle with the devastating effects of climate change that negatively impact her district. She is using the knowledge and skills acquired through the Marshal Papworth 10-week Short Course to teach conservation agriculture.
Bakhita commented: “I am working with 124 farmers who are all practising the conservation farming skills I have taught them, using knowledge learnt on the course. Despite my area being severely affected by prolonged dry spells, the growth rate and crop height in our fields is promising, compared to other farmers who are still following the traditional way of farming.”
“I have also implemented crop diversification so that the community is not solely relying on maize for income; pigeon peas and cassava have been introduced.”
Tom Arthey, Chairman of Marshal Papworth, commented on the achievements of the students: “It is hugely rewarding to hear the impact the students are making in-country. The scholarships we provide set individuals up with the knowledge necessary to make a positive impact from the ground up.”
Marshal Papworth is committed to working towards ending hunger in developing countries. Through the provision of its scholarships, the charity teaches alternative ways of bringing in an income, helping individuals and communities to become more self-sufficient, which in turn works towards reducing poverty.