The Waste-to-Wealth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture
The Waste to Wealth initiative is an organic farming program designed to utilize the so-called waste products in our rural communities to transform and empower the people.
The Waste-to-Wealth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture
The Waste to Wealth organic agriculture initiative aims to reduce the cost of production, reduce the quantity and accessibility to inputs. This is a cost -effective approach to rural development as the initiative aims to utilize waste products and local resources readily available to the people.
This initiative is knowledge-intensive as it aims to engage all categories of the rural poor. It is an empowerment program that would involve a direct interaction with the target audience. It would involve training some group of trainers, that would be selected and would be reputable individuals of the community that possess the charisma and potential to educate and enlighten their people on the innovation passed or taught.
Research and statistics has shown that many rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa face challenges which includes:
- Poor yield due to inefficient farming techniques and low inputs
- High cost of input
- Lack of storage facilities
- Poor access to credit, input (such as organic fertilizers and herbicides) and farm machinery
- Lack of skilled labor,placing a higher demand on women
- Lack of knowledge of value-adding techniques and marketing/advertising techniques to expand the value chain and maximize output.
- Poor access to information on market prices, resources etc
- Weak input supply chain
- Lack of knowledge on efficient organic farming techniques.
Although Sub Saharan Africa is home to a large percentage of the world’s poor, it has the largest percentage of arable land in the world, 79% of which remains uncultivated. The enormous potential becomes even more evident when one considers the fact that the subcontinent is experiencing a youth bulge and 40% of its unemployed are young people. There are lots of resources – natural, artificial and human that if tapped would place Africa at the forefront of the world economy.
With increasing concern for global warming, the world’s consumption pattern still raises cause for alarm. That coupled with the fact that annual post-harvest grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa average $4billion makes efficient and climate-smart agriculture more imperative. As it is estimated that there will be 2.4 billion more people to feed by 2050, we would do well to start thinking of innovative ways to sustain human life on the sub-continent and even the world over.
The Waste to Wealth initiative is an organic farming program designed to utilize the so-called waste products in our rural communities to transform and empower the people. This project is the brainchild of Nigerian students of agriculture and fellows of the Harambe Incubator for Sustainable and Rural Development (HISARD) fellowship program who over the past year have spent a considerable amount of time interacting and working with rural farmers in local farming communities in Southwest Nigeria and engaging with members of Nigeria’s diaspora. They have also engaged with organic farming enthusiasts including a past fellow who has set up green farming clubs in various secondary schools in the country.
Organic farming is that form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as; crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control mechanisms. In this system, administrative costs are lower relative to similar costs incurred in conventional agriculture while the products command higher prices. Therefore, the standard of living of these rural farmers would be improved sustainably through this empowerment plan. It has been recognized that organic food can be a niche in developing nations. It would provide more money and a better opportunity to compete internationally. In the absence of large farm machinery, unlimited access to credits and inputs, the key to sustainability and empowerment for small farmers is innovation.
The objectives of this project include:
- To help the sub- Saharan Africa maximize the benefit of locally available natural resources
- To improve the standard of living of sub- Sahara African by empowering its smallholder farmers, and to promote their produce to meet the international market standard.
- To exploit Nigeria’s present untapped youth potential thus tackling the problem of youth unemployment.
- To minimize the current pre-harvest and post-harvest losses by recycling and reusing agricultural “waste”.
- To tackle the problem of food insecurity by helping farmers double their output through innovative methods.
- To reduce the detrimental environmental impact of conventional agriculture.
- Better yields
- Minimum farm waste
- Increased farm productivity
- Higher price command.
- Added social value to the Nigerian farming communities.
- Improved nutritional value of food crops.
Lead up to Project Implementation
Fundraising: This would include gathering resources and raising fund for the implementation of the program.
Developing the Work Plan: This will involve confirming the members of the expert team and working with them and the research team to develop a training plan and a work plan for the entire project. This will involve intensive field research.
Production and Distribution of Information Materials: Having already established networks among many rural farmers, this task will be fairly easy to carry out. It would mostly involve the sensitization of farmers and the production and distribution of information pamphlets detailing the importance and dividends of organic farming and the Waste-to-Wealth Initiative. We would also work with community heads to organize information sessions in the community and provide one-on-one consultation.
Registration: The next phase will be the registration of community farmers. For the pilot project, a maximum of 50 farmers will be registered with quotas for women and youths as these groups of farmers are currently benefiting disproportionately from the agricultural economy.
Training: Expert trainers would include past fellows from the HISARD, professors at and other agricultural enthusiasts who are enlightened and trained on the practice of organic farming. In subsequent iterations of the project, some literate and successful trained farmers from the pilot project will be part of the training team.
The trained group will serve as contact farmers and the very successful ones will be recruited as trainers during the next round of training and sponsors would provide adequate funding and resources. All these would enhance cross-cultural interaction.
This plan will focus on arable crop because of its focus on tackling food scarcity and improving food security. Focusing on arable groups will also help us identify links between farming methods and standards of living among farming groups. The pilot project will be implemented over one farming season and this will last for a period of at least one and half years.
Having skills in survey design and administration from the Institute for Public Policy Analysis, we will put these skills to use in monitoring and evaluating our project.
The first set of surveys will assess the current situation of the target farms including yield/output, monthly turnover, storage facilities, and waste disposal and recycling practices etc. The survey will also be administered among a control group, farmers with similar practices and yields who are skeptical about joining the project.
Surveys will be administered at the end of one farming season.
Training sessions will then be held in the local communities for weeks on recycling, waste management, leveraging mobile technology, improved farming practices, etc
The project will then kick off at the beginning of the next season with project supervisors checking in with the local farmers every week and visiting the communities fortnightly.
At the end of the season, the surveys will be administered again to determine what difference the project had on farmer’s yield and output.
The research team will then interpret these results quantitatively and qualitatively.
The surveys will be sponsored by the project sponsors with the sponsors, the research team, the training team, and the communities forming an alliance of sorts to monitor the progress of the plan.
Conducting research on the productivity and writing of report, coupled with the use of cell-phones to monitor and follow-up the progress of the plan by highly informed agricultural enthusiasts would help ensure the success and sustainability of the plan.
The budget would be utilized as follows:
- Production of information materials.
- Survey administration and interpretation.
- Website creation and maintenance.
- Purchase and provision of inputs such as fertilizers, mobile technology services, etc
- Training sessions
- Community visitation
Got a suggestion on how to make this idea even better?REMIX IT!
- Embed video from services like YouTube, Vimeo & Flickr