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6,500 producers supported over three years with the support of the European Union

In January 2020, we signed a contract with the European Union (EU) on the ” Development in the Union of Comoros of a productive and climate change resilient agroecological model “. This project targeted 21 villages in seven communes of Anjouan and three villages in two communes of Grande Comore.

Post-Kenneth agricultural recovery in figures

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the start of this new project, which aimed to restart production after Cyclone Kenneth in 2019. Despite this, we have made a very strong recovery to achieve the expected results.

We organised two training modules in the Farmer Field School format on the key topics of integrated production and pest management for vegetable crops, as well as food crop association and rotation. We then provided six other one-off training courses on composting, soil defence and restoration, plant pathology, integrating livestock into agriculture, and potato cultivation and maintenance.

The trainings were able to strengthen the knowledge of the beneficiaries on improved food crop multiplication techniques that directly impact on food security:

  • 6,500 farmers were mobilised and accompanied, 51% of whom were women, from 417 farming groups.
  • 3,080 producers installed 305 banana germinators.
  • 26,000 banana seeds planted.
  • 96,000 cassava cuttings and sweet potato vines planted.

The adoption of agroecological practices has increased producers’ income

We were able to draw real conclusions from the producers through focus groups. Thanks to our investment over these three years, the feedback has been positive. 87% of the beneficiaries acknowledge an increase in their productivity and 81% have adopted at least one agroecological practice. For market gardening, these include (1) crop association, (2) crop rotation, (3) installation of improved nurseries, (4) improvement of soil fertility and (5) development of soil defence and restoration (DRS).

Figure: % of farmers surveyed via focus groups in 2022 who practiced the agroecological market gardening techniques promoted.

83 of the most dynamic farmer groups have engaged in collective actions of integrated management of agricultural soil fertility: 125,000 Gliricidia cuttings have been used to embocage 400 plots.

Three tools capitalised through the project

Among the agroecological technologies developed during this action, we have capitalised on three tools to further enhance the know-how of farmers. These documents and guides are available on our website:

  • The anti-insect net: The test plots avoided 100% of the attacks by the fly (Tuta Absoluta), during the market gardening season between March and August 2022. The marketable portion of the tomatoes is 90% to 100%. In contrast, this percentage varies between 40 and 60% on the control plots without the use of the net.
  • Multiplication of banana trees in farmers’ groups: To meet the demand for banana trees in the Comoros, we sought to master the technique of rapid banana tree multiplication using the Plants from Stem Fragments (PIF) method. We have succeeded in perfecting this technique and training local producers to be autonomous.
  • Combination of market gardening: through competitions on the best market gardening plots, we have put the farmers’ groups in competition. Organic production and crop association have given very good results that we have capitalised on to make them useful to local farmers.

Sharing experiences with national actors

We have undertaken collaborations with national actors in the framework of training and exchanges on the valorisation of agroecological techniques in the Comoros. 105 technicians from outside Dahari were trained thanks to the organisation of national and regional workshops on the valorisation of agricultural techniques with the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment (INRAPE). These workshops were attended by more than 40 participants each time, including representatives from the Ministry and the Directorate of Agriculture, research institutes and civil society institutions.

All this work will now be capitalised on in a new “agroforestry” programme that is currently under construction. This programme targets further intensification and agroecological transformation in the Comoros. In addition, a “rapid” model is also being finalised, which will allow for a wide dissemination of these techniques following the next natural events.

We thank the European Union for this key support to our actions over the past three years.