The program sought to enhance food security, stimulate sustainable economic growth, and build a community’s ability to set priorities and implement community-initiated plans.
In Mozambique, World Renew collaborated with the Diocese of Niassa to address food security using “farm field schools,” where they could demonstrate and teach appropriate technologies and test new methods alongside traditional ones. Farm field schools rely on the adage “seeing is believing,” knowing that the time and effort invested will be repaid in farmers’ ready adaptation of methods they can see with their own eyes.
Mario Merezio farms in the community of Lumpia and overcame initial resistance to the conservation agriculture methods offered by World Renew and the Diocese of Niassa. The 43-year-old father of six says “I had serious problems increasing my production and wanted the opportunity to learn new techniques.” A few that quickly caught his attention were using mulch as ground cover and manure as a crop cover and nitrogen-fixer. He tried both and called the results “amazing.”
But the results also caused a problem for Mr. Merezio. Traditional farming practice in Lumpia held that farmers should clear out their entire farm at the beginning of each agricultural season. But Mr. Merezio was using the technique of total ground cover with mulch. “While preparing the field last season, I had to collect grass and maize stalks along the road in order to cover my ground 100%,” he says. “Because of that,” he exclaims, “my sanity was questioned by community members thinking I was crazy!”
But as the season progressed, soon the same people who called him crazy began to ask Mr. Merezio for advice as, he laughs, “my field was doing way better than theirs!” Mr. Merezio says the number of people willing to learn his methods “grows daily” and he extols the virtues of the farm field school to all: “In the past, we farmers had to struggle on our own with no one to answer questions or assist us. Now, working with extension agents and lead farmers, we have the opportunity to share our doubts and achieve a common goal — to have enough food for our families and the community. On behalf of my farmer colleagues,” he says “I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for all the knowledge and techniques brought to us by this program.”
World Renew Mozambique