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INT06 - Foundations for Farming: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: December 16, 2019

Report from BHW Agricultural Director

Recent Events

Foundations for Farming Training

In September Jerry Field and I travelled to Ambovombe, Madagascar, to give a Foundations for Farming training. Against expectation, and much to the delight of the local OM team, we ended up with mostly men turning up for the training. This area is particularly undeveloped and not easy to get to. The drive between Taolagnaro (Fort Dauphin) and Ambovombe to took 4 1/2 hours for just over 100km. As we came closer the main vegetation became cacti. Polygamy is still very common here and literacy rates are very low. In this culture funerals are extremely important and people spend almost everything on them, thereby continuing the cycle of poverty.

unexpected result

The lack of education combined with suspicion and lack of knowledge of the wider world made it tricky to explain some things. When we told a story about elephants we were asked what they were! Hanitra, the local OM team leader, interpreted for us but from time to time things still had to be translated from Malagassi to the local language as well. In spite of all this it seemed that the majority of participants understood what we were teaching. We even got the chance to plant a small area of maize for a lady who took part in the training.

They desperately need Foundations for Farming here because the crops are really poor in this semi-arid area. We had some showers while we were there and saw people washing clothes in the puddles on the road. In a big pothole an ox-cart was parked and a drum was being filled to collect drinking water. A desperate situation but a promising start for Foundations for Farming!


unexpected resultRecent Update 

This is an extremely difficult area for agriculture, incredibly dry and very windy, and we were not particularly confident of the people achieving good results here. We were therefore incredibly encouraged to receive the photos below and hear of such good initial results (among the cacti!). 

The photos show maize and pine-nuts from three of the trainees just two months after our training. A further seven people have also planted crops and are achieving similar results. 


unexpected resultunexpected result