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Students become the teachers

“I’ve been a farmer all my life. I had not received any training in agriculture and only used my local knowledge,” says Yohana Zablon (63), a smallholder farmer from Njage Village in Morogoro, Tanzania.“A few months ago, I was approached by some members of Tupendane Youth Group in our village, who had just come back from a training programme in rice farming.

 “I’ve been a farmer all my life. I had not received any training in agriculture and only used my local knowledge,” says Yohana Zablon (63), a smallholder farmer from Njage Village in Morogoro, Tanzania.

 

“A few months ago, I was approached by some members of Tupendane Youth Group in our village, who had just come back from a training programme in rice farming. They went around the village inviting people to go and learn from their demonstration plots. At first I was not interested, but with their insistence, I decided to pay a visit to the demo plots,” Zablon recalls. 

 

The Tupendane Youth Group had been introduced to the Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) and received special training in System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a farming methodology that aims to increase yield while using less water, smaller farming areas and reduced seed inputs. The training, conducted by FAO in collaboration with Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, equipped the young farmers with skills and knowledge, which they disseminated to the rest of their community through SRI demonstration plots.

 

Zablon was eventually convinced of this new way of farming by the youth and the level of competence they demonstrated. He enrolled in a training on SRI methods provided by the student farmers.

 

“The young people taught me how to select the best seeds, how to establish a good nursery and about the best time for sowing. They also taught me how to space the seedlings for good results,” Zablon discloses, adding: “This is all new to me! You know, such young minds are still active and productive. So I listen to them.”

 

See more: http://www.fao.org/fao-stories/article/en/c/1205314/

Figure: Choosing the best seeds, time for sowing and way of spacing seedlings are some of the practices that help dramatically increase rice production. Left: ©FAO/Daniel Hayduk; Right: ©FAO/Emmanuel Kihaule

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