Agricultural Training Centre and Farmers’ Clubs in Calandula
ADPP began managing the Agricultural Training Centre in Calandula in July 2016. The project comprises three components: an Agricultural training centre, the distribution of fruit trees and 10 Farmers’ Clubs with 550 members. In the long term, the centre will become an education and resource centre for modern agriculture in the province.
In 2017, the construction of the Agricultural Centre was completed, and both the workshop and dormitory areas were ready for use by the end of the year. Vocational courses were being prepared and planned to start in the second quarter of 2018. Avocado, guava, mango, palm, citrus and soursop trees planted at the Centre in May 2017 are expected to start bearing fruit between 2018 and 2020. The fruit will provide a nutritious supplement to the diet, and surplus will be sold at market for the benefit of a wider public. In addition to the 900 trees at the Center, a further 2050 fruit trees were distributed to Farmers’ Club members. Farmers’ Clubs staff and Committee members participated in training sessions at the Centre throughout the year, as model fields had already been established for use by the project and by the two clubs that are based here. Training of club members covered aspects of business and management, to help prepare the farmers for the transition from subsistence farming to commercial farming. Conservation agriculture featured throughout the year, while vegetable production continued to be an important element, from the preparation of plant nurseries to harvesting, marketing and sales. All club members received information about healthy eating, as they did about malaria and general health issues too. Practical actions included the digging of rubbish pits and the building of latrines. Savings and loan groups were created at a number of clubs, whereby members made individual contributions to create a fund to allow others to borrow money in order to generate more income. Clubs in general were geared up to make money from the sale of surplus produce, especially from their vegetable production, and were making plans to increase cassava cultivation both at club level as well as among individual farmers. Literacy, a key component in all Farmers’ Club projects, reached 375 members, who participated in Module 1 of the three-module course.