agriculture2

Agriculture

Water for Good drills and maintains water wells in the Central African Republic. So, why do we want to invest in agricultural programs?

Access to clean water prevents water-borne illnesses, but that progress can only be sustained if communities also have access to enough nutritious food. Agriculture is the key to better health, more productive lives, and long-term sources of income!

The Vision

to Eradicate hunger and malnutrition in Central Africa.

Many people in the Central African Republic don’t have enough food. Yet, this country has great land and many capable farmers.

When you depend on the food you grow
to feed your family, you just cannot afford to fail.

Family farmers in Central Africa cannot afford to spend money growing new crops or changing their practices, even if the potential health benefits are very great. So, Water for Good takes on the risk for the farmers. We want to help the CAR become the “bread basket of Africa.”

It is our mission to help local farmers, especially women farmers, grow enough nutritious food and improve their soil for lasting impact.

1. Grow diverse and nutritious foods.

Ever heard of sorghum? Spirulina? Improving nutrition requires
growing a diversity of crops, like these various grains.

2. Manage natural resources.

Keeping the soil fertile, year-after-year and managing a stock of
reliable seeds and plants are vital parts of a healthy farm.

3. Market their crops

Getting the product to market in a reliable and cost-effective manner
is almost as important as growing the product in the first place!

the strategy

The Water for Good agriculture program carries out research at its two Agricultural Resources and Research Centers (ARRC). We like to call them “Mother ARRC” (22 kilometers from the capital city of Bangui) and “Mini ARRC” (in Berberati), where we have test fields and training centers. These sites are the heart of our operations and a huge resource. We only promote crops and practices after we test them under local growing conditions at the ARRCs!

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CORE PROJECTS

1. Water for Good SEED BANK
Farmers in CAR do not have access to markets for improved seeds. In order to help farmers try new crops without taking on all the risk, Water for Good produces a variety of seeds and then distributes them on a credit basis to farmers organized into cooperatives. For every 1kg of seed received, beneficiary farmer reimburses 1.5kg to Water for Good.

Accomplishments: Water for Good Distributed 18 tons of improved seeds, including soybeans, corn, and red beans, black-eyed beans, and peanut to about 5,000 Central African farmers.


2. TREE NURSERY, a.k.a. AGROFORESTRY
Water for Good develops and distributes fruit trees and legume trees (nitrogen fixing plants that help with soil fertility) to farmers in order to help them diversify their farming practices.

Accomplishments: Water for Good has distributed over 15,000 seedlings, including multiplied banana and grafted fruit trees.

3.DEMONSTRATION GARDENS
Water for Good uses the ARRC properties as a training area. Our fields provide the seeds for the seedbank and a teaching resource.

4. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Water for Good purchases and distributes small farm animals to subsistence farmers. These animals are among families’ most valuable possessions. The goal is that the offspring of these initial flocks will be sold when necessary to generate income and help the household have better food security and nutrition.

Accomplishments: In total, 22 small farm animals were distributed including 6 goats, 14 chickens and 2 pigs to 8 households.

5. RESEARCH, TRAINING, AND FARMER SUPPORT
Water for Good agricultural extension agents (animators) travel to visit farmers in their own fields and hold series of hands-on demonstrations.  The topics covered include: deep soil field preparation, respecting crop-specific planting/seeding spacing, cropping calendar (when to plant what), mixed cropping (what crops to plan in companionship with another).  These practices help farmers obtain better yields and keep their field more fertile and productive.

Farmer Collaboration: farmers are encouraged to discuss the problems they encounter in their fields with Water for Good ag personnel. Such issues become the focus of more research to find locally applicable solutions.

Water for Good Training: Water for Good agricultural extension agents (animators) travel to visit farmers in their own fields to answer their questions, offer them advice, and hold series of hand-on demonstration on best cropping practices.

Accomplishments: Water for Good established and trained 500 village cooperatives in agricultural best practices

 

INTEGRATING WATER AND AGRICULTURE!

What do agriculture and water well maintenance have in common? In the coming years we look forward to expanding agricultural programs to help communities raise funds for their maintenance fees. These fees keep the clean water flowing. The key to making a lasting impact is to find ways to make our programs financially sustainable.

Learn more about the Water for Good maintenance program here

Agriculture is the main income-generating activity in this region (an overwhelming percentage of the population are farmers). Water for Good will help farmers grow more and sell more of their crops, creating more income to help pay the well maintenance fees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. GROWING MODEL FARMERS

Water for Good brings members of village cooperatives to the ARRC and offers them specific training. These leaders are the Village Agricultural Technicians (VAT). They represent Water for Good’s technical, long-term connection to the respective communities. The VATs can stay engaged and advise other farmers in their communities based on the training they received from Water for Good.
Accomplishments? Water for Good has trained 64 Village Agricultural Technicians!

2. SUPPORTING WOMEN FARMERS

Water for Good helps support women farmers, by providing focused training on agriculture as small business.

3. APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY

In 2011 Water for Good launched a pilot project to equip farmers’ coops with a set of field plowing oxen and accessories. The animal-based tillage technology is a laborsaving and appropriate technology that will facilitate the ability of farmers to increase the amount of land they can plow and thus reap more harvest. In total 6 oxen were purchased and donated to 3 farmers’ coops (2 oxen per coop). Estimated number of beneficiaries is 60 farmers.

4. IMPROVING NUTRITION FOR
THE BAYAKA PEOPLE

Learn more about the  Bayaka people here

5. MORINGA & SPIRULINA NUTRITION SOLUTION

In 2012 Water for Good provided technical and financial assistance to cooperative of spirulina growers (15 individuals) in Bangui. A new spirulina pond (60m2) was constructed and seeded with new strain of spirulina to help the coop increase their spirulina production. The demand for supplemental food such as protein-rich spirulina is growing especially for anemic persons (pregnant or nursing mothers) as well as people living with HIV/AIDS.

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