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31 October 2019
Hitachi Data Systems and Xcelus, with generous support from the Kadans Foundation, has produced conservation farming training videos. The videos were distributed on Samsung Tablets that will be used by lead farmers to train people in the Simalaha Community Conservancy.
The goal is to provide conservation agriculture training to the Simalaha communities. Conservation farming techniques are proven to increase yields using less labour and materials on smaller tracts of land while reducing deforestation. Ultimately it will help the people move from subsistence to sustainable farming.
The project team made three trips to Zambia. On the first trip the team gained agreement on the scope of the training, met the traditional leadership, scouted the terrain and planned the video production. The team visited several local farms to view the environment and plan production. They also met several farmers who have successfully implemented conservation farming techniques. One family was able to increase their yield five times on approximately 90% less land, using conservation farming techniques.
On the second trip, Hitachi and Xcelus returned to Zambia with video equipment to record the conservation agriculture work and interviews. Xcelus then spent several weeks editing video, ultimately producing 17 videos in each language. They also created an application for the tablet that is designed to guide Chrispin Muchindu, the conservation agriculture field coordinator, and the lead farmers through the training. The interface is available in both English and Lozi. Hitachi and Xcelus returned to Zambia a third time to demonstrate and the use of the tablets and hand them to the local trainers.
The training application was created with an extensible framework that can accommodate new content, photos and videos documenting the lessons learned and successes as the programme is implemented and expanded. In addition, the training produced for the Simalaha Conservation Agriculture Project can be adapted to other TFCAs, making it possible for Peace Parks Foundation to operationalise the delivery of conversation agriculture training.