International Centre for Environmental Health and Development (ICEHD) Trains Badagry Women Farmers on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Farming Technology, with Distribution of Farming Tools for Capacity Strengthening AT Badagry Chamber Hall, Badagry Local Government Secretariat, Ajara Badagry On Saturday February18th, 2023
International Centre for Environmental Health and Development (ICEHD) hosted a CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING focusing on CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE for women farmers in Badagry with 40 beneficiaries. These beneficiaries were selected from Olorunda LCDA and Badagry west under Badagry LGA who received 35 bags of 50kg fertilizers, bags of pig/fish feeds, chemicals and knapsack sprayers for improved agricultural production, enable food and nutrition security and sustainable income.
The Climate-Smart Agricultural Training is one of the major activity of the Badagry women empowerment Project, funded by VOICE. PRESENT WERE HOD ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH DEPT. (Mrs Jegede A.A, HOD Agric and Social service dept. (represented by Mr Hunpe Abiodun), Olorunda LCDA Chairman, Mr Emakpor Armstrong
Aside the farm inputs received by these beneficiaries, they were also trained by expertise in various fields on climate-smart agriculture as part of effort to improve food security.
Dr Agbaye Folorunsho Peters created an awareness on Climate Change, Basic Techniques Of Farming Operations And Its Potential Effectgave a summary of What is the relationship between climate change and agriculture?
Agriculture, climate change, food security and poverty reduction are closely linked. FAO predicted world population of about 9 billion by 2050, which means that agricultural production must also increase by an estimated 70 %.
Frequent extreme weather condition and temperature changes increasingly threaten the viability of agricultural sector throughout the world, which directly accounts for 13.5 % of greenhouse gas emissions i.e Agriculture is therefore part of the problem and part of the solution to Climate Change.
He explained that the impact of climate change according to scientific evidences presented by UN Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in her 4th report on climate change (2007) are enormous. They are.
• continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions
• It increases the frequency of floods, droughts, heat waves, and the intensity of typhoons/hurricanes
• rise of sea level, decrease in glaciers
• northward movement of plant habitats
• changes in animal habitats
• rise of ocean temperature
• shortened/excessive rain fall
• early arrival/prolonged hamattan and dry season
• also human life
he continued with the impact of climate change on agriculture as;
he further enumerated various Practices That Could Mitigate The Impact Of Climate Change In Agriculture, which are as follows;
Efficient Irrigation reduces fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - Water- and climate-wise farmers can use various ways to reduce energy consumption (drip irrigation, planting cover crops, dry farming, and more)
Renewable Energy- Maximizing energy efficiency and shifting away from fossil fuels-This can include on-farm renewable energy production such as solar panels and wind turbines, minimizing use of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides, reducing dependence on fossil fuel inputs for farming, storage, and transportation of crops.
More efficient specialty fertilizers application with precision at lower rates as well as alternatives to synthetic fertilizers should be supported to reduce fertilizer use
Biochar - a useful soil additive, improving soil moisture-holding capacity in its raw form and serving as a slow-release fertilizer if charged with nutrients, Biochar can be created easily and economically in farms by using a kiln and pruned wood
Biochar limits the use of synthetic fertilizers, is an incredibly high-value carbon capture technology and results in the capture of approximately 50% of the carbon in wood
Agroforestry, where growing tree and herbaceous plants alongside crops and livestock provides benefits to agriculture and the environment.
Agroforestry -capture 7 times more carbon than monoculture plantation forestry
protects soil nutrients, prevents erosion and water evaporation, and provides shade, food, and diversified income streams to farmers
Adoption of soil-less farming- Farming within a small pieces of land that could be efficiently managed e.g. planting vegetables, yam etc. in bags
Hydroponic: hydroponics does not use soil to feed the plants but rather a nutrient rich solution which is continuously flowing to the plant roots.
why use hydroponics and what are the benefits of using hydroponics over a traditional garden?
• Increased crop yield
• Faster growing cycles
• Can be done indoors
• Surprisingly cheap
• Reduced labor
• Environmentally sound
Cogent to this training is Mr. STEPHEN OLOYEDE, CEO, TP Steve Agro Allied Enterprise,Lagos, who trained the farmers on SOIL QUALITY (Local Cost-Effective Ways to Improve Soil Quality), creating awareness of the significance of women in agriculture, he said; Women comprise 43% of agricultural labour force globally and in developing countries. FAO 2011 and in Kenya, women account for over 80% of farmers. Women roles are predominantly weeding, harvesting, processing, marketing and sales. This varies with age, location and production system. Therefore, it is important to empower women to keep up with sufficient food production. (No women, no food…)
He further gave a summary of what is soil with its types?
Soil is defined as the collection of natural bodies on the earth’s surface supporting or capable of supporting plants (Brady, 1984). Soils are the foundation of food production and many essential ecosystem services. It has been shown that sustainable soil management contributes to increasing food production, enhancing the nutrient content of food, and adapting to and mitigating climate change. FAO 2017.
TYPES OF SOIL
- Sand 2.0 - 0.05 mm in diameter (coarse material) – referred to as “light” soils, since they are easily tilled
- Silt 0.05 - 0.002 mm (medium material)
- Clay <0.002 mm (fine material) – referred to as “heavy” soils, because of their difficult workability.
- Loam (a medium material combining these 3 with humus)
The soil evaluation conducted by Olatunde Ogunkunle (2013) reveals that the Badagry soil is:
• Mainly sandy loam. This is suitable for most garden crops like leafy vegetables, root crops.
• Slightly acidic between 5.29-6.65. This is within the range of tolerance for most crops (5.5-7.5).
• Poor in mineral nutrients. These results are due to the type of soil (sandy) and relatively high rainfall of 2000mm/annum which leads to leaching of soil nutrients.
• Sandy loam soils have visible particles of sand mixed into the soil.
• They quickly drain excess water but cannot hold significant amounts of water or nutrients for your plants.
• Thus, plants grown in this type of soil will require more frequent irrigation and fertilization than soils with a higher concentration of clay and sediment.
• They are often deficient in specific micronutrients and may require additional fertilization to support healthy plant growth.
He went further to stress the significance of soil quality test to crop farmers as;
• It helps farmers assess their soil nutrient content (NPK) and pH, hence more informed fertilizer decisions.
• It reveals the amount of plant-available macro-nutrients in the soil and where soil nutrients are in the soil profile to determine type of crops to plant (shallow or deep rooted crops).
• Improved knowledge of the soil types within the farm to maximize management options.
• Consequently, it also provides farmers a potential benefit to increased yields, reduced operating costs and superior environmental risk management.
Some of the Practical Steps to IMPROVE SOIL QUALITY WITH LOCALLY AVAILABLE MATERIALS according to Sustainable Development Goal 15 are;
Sustainable Development Goal 15 identifies the need to restore degraded soils and improve soil health. We must work on this if we are to keep up with feeding the ever increasing population and depleted soil due to over cropping. Therefore,
Ø it is recommended that for sustained cropping and improved yield, farmers would require the use of fertilizers, improved seeds (seedlings), soil protection techniques and other soil management practices.
Ø The best way to improve a sandy loam soil for gardening is to mix organic matter into the soil. Incorporating a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost or peat moss over the area can significantly improve the ability of your sandy loam soil to hold nutrients and water.
Ø ZERI Model developed by Songhai Centre, Porto Novo, is a good model to adopt. It basically advocates that nothing be wasted but all by-products on farm be recycled (these are Compost, Organic manure, Mulching, Green manure and High quality agrochemicals).
He explicitly gave various practical methods to test their soil, which are; Feel test, Ribbon test, Ball squeeze test, Mason jar shake test and Rapid soil testing kit
Rapid soil testing kits were developed for on-farm testing to simplify the analysis of soil physical, chemical and biological parameters in the field.
These kits generally involve qualitative methods of analysis (e.g. dye indicators, color development and rapid titration)
Basic method: After performing soil extractions to obtain a solute, the latter is mixed with the reagents mentioned above, which results in the solute turning into a certain color. The color can then be matched to the color chart and relevant explanation linked to the color provided in the kit.
Having identified the kinds of soil and ways to improve it, it is expedient to ascertain the suitable fertilizer for each crops to achieve high yield, he enumerated the major types of fertilizer as follows;
v Organic fertilizer: a carbon-rich fertilizer derived from organic materials, including treated or untreated livestock manures, compost, sewage sludge and other organic materials or mixed materials used to supply nutrients to soils. It can be liquid or solid, from plant or animal source. They are very stable and nutrients are released slowly. They help to improve soil structure and buffer soil pH. Best for leafy vegetables and work well for establishing crops like plantain and bananas. Poultry manure is the most favoured organic manure from animal source. It’s important to let organic manure cure before application to avoid nutrient burn.
v Inorganic fertilizer: a nutrient-rich fertilizer produced industrially by chemical processes, mineral extraction or by mechanical grinding. They can be water soluble or oil soluble, liquid or granular. They mostly release nutrients quickly to the plants. Soils susceptible to leaching should use fertilizers with higher NPK ratios e.g. 15-15-15. More readily soluble fertilizers (e.g. 20-20-20) are best suited for drip irrigation systems. NPK like 10-10-10 are good for most crops and soil types. Inorganic fertilizers are the commonly used.
Some of the guidelines needed to improved their yield are;
• Seed quality- Get seeds/seedlings from certified or trusted sources. (e.g. LAISA)
• Improved varieties- Source for improved yielding, disease resistant varieties.
• Crop protection- proactive pest and disease management.
• Soil protection- mitigating against erosion and replenishing the soil.
• Various government projects such as the Fadama III and APPEALS projects, international organizations like ICEHD etc, have helped farmers by providing inputs, equipment and transfer of technology.
• We encourage farmers to keep using these technologies and inputs to improve our productivity.
Lastly, high yield can be achieved through appropriate use of agrochemicals with the following steps;
• By following the recommendations on the labels, farmers will get good results.
• Calibrate sprayers properly and use recommended dose/rates.
• Choose high quality agrochemicals
• Consider agrochemicals with shorter pre-harvest interval and shorter re-entry periods which means the chemicals are broken down quickly in plants so food consumption is healthy and environment is safer.