Climate Change, Community, Community Development, Conservation, Lubombo TFCA, Maputo Special Reserve, Mozambique, Mozambique Community Development, Partnerships, Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve

Farmer Field Schools Grow Productive, Peaceful Livelihoods

The communities of the Maputo Environmental Protection Area in southern Mozambique are benefiting from a new focus on sustainable livelihoods and marine protection, thanks to the recently rolled-out Blue Action Fund Kuvikela programme.  

Here, Farmer Field Schools are on the rise, with small-scale farmers coming together to learn how to solve food production problems through sustainable agriculture, from increasing productivity to enhancing nutrition and food security. Schools take a group-based approach to adult education, and offer space for hands-on learning, monitoring of farming practices and improved decision-making by local communities. This is a valuable opportunity to test the effectiveness of agricultural techniques and address many related challenges such as water and sanitation, gender issues and HIV, and marketing, savings and credit.

Provisioning for a sustainable supply of water is a significant element of successful farming in these areas. Here, local producers employ treadle-pumps to irrigate their crops.

Marine and coastal protection in the Maputo Environmental Protection Area has recently been given a significant boost with a €5.9m grant awarded to Peace Parks Foundation and ADRA Germany as sub-grantee, by Blue Action Fund through funding from the Green Climate Fund.   With the support of a consortium of partners and Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas, this first-of-its-kind programme considers all the elements of the landscape holistically, building the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities against the impacts of climate change. 

The Maputo Environmental Protection Area, in southern Mozambique, which hosts the Blue Action Fund Kuvikela programme. Within this target area lie 42 Farmer Field Schools, bringing growing benefits to local small-scale producers, and to the landscape.

Schools of the Future 

Since the beginning of the year, the Maputo Environmental Protection Area, which incorporates Maputo National Park, has seen the Farmer Field Schools project establish 42 schools throughout all the communities assisted by Blue Action Fund, with the support of ADRA Germany. Agricultural resources such as seeds of maize, peanuts and beans have been distributed to each farmer, along with equipment to help apply what they are learning from the project. ADRA Mozambique has longstanding experience in livelihood and farmer market schools; they will be responsible for monitoring the Farmer Field Schools project and introducing knowledge from international experts.  

In one of the Field Farmer Schools in Zitundo, female farmers are learning and sharing valuable conservation agriculture skills, techniques, and knowledge.

Peppers, chillies and beans are amongst the crops being produced as farmers learn new practices and gain access to essential resources, from seeds to agricultural equipment.

Our dream for these women is to achieve food security and also enable them to become entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. We want to connect these communities to the market and show them that it is possible not only to survive, but to thrive.

Anifa Ismael, a representative of project partner ADRA Mozambique

Through conservation agriculture, these women are not only securing their food supply but also exploring new horizons in entrepreneurship, all while building a climate-resilient future. 

The project has brought some great benefits to us, and I will never give up on this initiative, I will do this until the end of my days. Joining this association has allowed me to appreciate new learning experiences.

Ana Joaquim Nhaca, Zitundo Farmer Field School participant and producer
Carolina Pedro Muchanga (left), a field farmer in Zitundo, tends her crops. “Beforehand, I could not manage the beds and crops correctly, but nowadays I know how to.”

This is an exciting opportunity to scale up the knowledge sharing and positive impacts for local livelihoods.  However, challenges presented by wild and domestic animals could threaten progress. One farming area has been invaded by cattle; in others, maize crops are at risk from destruction by wildlife such as monkeys and elephants. Mitigating issues of human-wildlife conflict is critical if communities are to see net benefits, so the field team is recommending putting fences in place; discussions are ongoing with ADRA Germany for a way forward which can encourage peaceful, and productive, coexistence. 

Coastal co-existence: a Sense of Scale 

Within the community programme being implemented by partner ADRA Germany are other local organisations. Collaboratively, they are encouraging broad-ranging knowledge exchange: from economic and mental well-being to projects for women, children and senior citizens.  

It’s very important to note that the support offered to communities would not have happened unless there was a protected area. This is one of the largest programmes to take both the conservation and community perspective. It allows us to continue to expand our community and livelihood initiatives, whilst protecting the region.

Antony Alexander, Peace Parks’ Programme Manager for the Great Limpopo and Lubombo transboundary landscapes

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