In communities and countries where the project had served, the rate of malnutrition before the commencement of the project was extremely high (80% among children and women). Major staple food items were principally carbohydrate based (cassava, maize etc). Malnutrition retarded growth in children. There was a need to avert this situation and to enable communities grow and utilize protein foods that fit into their culture. The program has successfully introduced the high protein and nutrient rich Moringa plant and Soybean in most of these communities and through training and follow up support, the communities currently grow and utilize these nutrient rich plants in their diets with a resultant massive reduction in malnutrition rates, especially among women and children in these communities. Rates of malnutrition has dropped in some cases from an estimated 80% in 2001 to current rates of less than 5% in 10 years. Food production in most of these communities was also seriously affected by the use of high input inorganic pesticides and fertilizers which were not affordable by the communities. The result has been declining yields and increasing levels of pest infestation. There was an urgent need to reverse this trend which was also resulting in increased food insecurity. The Program has had a positive impact on communities through training in Integrated Crop and Pest Management. Farmers currently use alternative local pesticides and are able to make informed choices in the use of inorganic pesticides. These have resulted in cost effective farming practices and production of safe food. Communities have also increased their productivity and are reportedly reaching situations of improved food security. Most of these communities also had situations of low income which affected every facet of their lives. Poverty was endemic. There was the need to provide sustainable income sources for the communities. The project introduced modern beekeeping to help avert the situation of poverty. Farmers are trained in beekeeping and they currently produce hygienic and quality honey that has attracted competitive market prices. The program is supporting farmers to add value to the honey through proper bottling and labeling for even better marketability.
Goals & Objectives
a) To increase food production in communities through increasing farm sizes from estimated averages of 0.5 acres per family farm to 4 acres in 5 years and also through improved and sustainable farm practices. b) To reduce levels of malnutrition in communities from the estimated average levels of 70% of the population in communities selected to levels lower than 20% of the population in 3 years through the introduction of the production and utilization of nutrient rich foods such as Moringa and Soy. c) To increase the income earning capacity of farmers through improved off-farm practices such as beekeeping and improved livestock husbandry practices.
a) Needs assessment of communities. b) Training in appropriate skills, e.g., Integrated Crop and Pest Management (ICPM), Nutrition Improvement, Beekeeping, Livestock Husbandry, Agroforestry etc. c) Follow up activities and support to communities trained.