Protecting and Regenerating the Soils of Ihamizua
The Centro de Formacao Agro-Pecuaria de Siloe is an agricultural training center located in Ihamizua, about 10 miles from Beira, Mozambique. The center has a strong focus on social and environmental responsibility and trains youth in vegetable production, entrepreneurship, and small livestock and poultry production. Each year, 25 youth graduate from the center’s training on environmentally minded horticulture practices, including organic cultivation methods, integrated pest management and basic composting. In addition to youth education, the center produces food for a local orphanage for about 100 children, and sells the surplus vegetables and chickens for revenue to help sustain the organization.
Despite its success, Centro de Formacao Agro-Pecuaria de Siloe continued to look for ways to increase its social and environmental impact in the community. USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program, implemented by CNFA in Southern Africa, visited the center to explore ways the F2F program could strengthen one of the center’s key natural resources – the soil. CNFA fielded Ms. Matilde D’Urzo, a soil fertility expert who had previously volunteered with CNFA in Mozambique, to train the center on cost-effective and sustainable strategies to improve soil quality. Ms. D’Urzo provided the center with trainings on how to prepare compost and organic fertilizers, how to apply mulch to vegetable beds and how to increase production through the intensification and diversification of crops (soil management).
Within one year of F2F volunteer assistance the center has seen major improvements including:
- Increase in vegetable production from 6 metric tons to 13 metric tons
- Decrease of input costs by 33%
- Knowledge to optimize the use of its natural resources