New manual on organic feeds and fertilisers developed |30 October 2023
By Mandy Bertin
A new manual aimed at improving and disseminating knowledge on biofertiliser technology to increase yields of tropical fruits, vegetables and root crops, as well as enhance sustainable farming practices has been developed.
This was through a three-day workshop led by John Odhiambo Otieno, a senior research scientist from the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, which took place at the Anse Boileau Agricultural Research Centre.
Farmers and officers from the department of agriculture who were taking part in the workshop on biofeeds and biofertilisers practices developed the manual under the guidance of Mr Otieno.
They successfully completed the training and received their certificates in a ceremony held last week.
This training initiative marks the start of the project, ‘Incubating Aspiring Women and Youth Farmers in Sustainable Farming Techniques,’ coordinated by the Seychelles Chapter of the Comesa Federation of Women in Business (COMFWB).
It has been made possible through a grant from the United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF) programme, empowering Seychelles’ civil society organisations to drive positive change in the agricultural sector.
In his closing remarks, the principal secretary for agriculture, Kevin Nancy, said the manual addresses the issues that appeared of most urgency in agriculture.
“We believe that it also provides a capacity to respond to different circumstances in the future,” he said.
The department of agriculture wishes to commend COMFWB Seychelles Chapter and the Citizen Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) for such initiative and partnership in support of our drive towards achieving our food sovereignty goals, he added.
“Training local farmers, the small holders in particular in making their own feeds and reducing reliance on expensive imported feeds is one of them.”
Mr Nancy also thanked the UNDP-GEF for financing this training initiative on sustainable farming practices which is now a priority of the agriculture department.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, Mr Otieno said the purpose of his visit was to assist in developing the manual, which will be used by farmers, extension officers and others in the formulation of feeds and fertilisers.
He said biofertilisers are being used to mitigate the effects caused by commercial fertilisers and locals are now being advised to adopt the green technologies such as organic feeds and fertilisers.
“Biofertilisers have been used by our great-grandfathers but there was no scientific application on them. So now we are putting a scientific input into what our forefathers did so as to protect our environment, the animals and ourselves the consumers.”
In regards to the manual, he said it will be disseminated to the farmers so that they can make informed decisions.
“The other critical aspect will be the product development whereby we will build the capacity of the users and other extension officers,” Mr Otieno said.
“Most of the resources to produce these organic feeds and fertilisers are readily available in Seychelles. By using organic fertilisers we are going to encourage them to enhance productivity and protect the environment as we are talking about green technologies and conservation.”
Kevin Humphrey, an officer from the department of agriculture, said the training has been a fruitful and needed one as the department is working to promote the importance of healthy eating and locally produced resources for consumption. He stated that the newly acquired knowledge will help to reach this target.
On behalf of Ceps, Rachel Spiro said the training covered the actual situation in the agricultural landscape of Seychelles and seeks not only to engage in dialogues but to also become solution providers.
Photos by Joena Meme