The Eotulelo farmer field school: Learning and promoting conservation agriculture
The Likamba village in northern Tanzania was experiencing increasing levels of soil erosion and herds of cattle were roaming the area, eating whatever they could find. The villagers came together to discuss what to do and decided to form their own self-help group (Eotulelo group) in 2001. They planted trees, built contour bunds and also found ways to earn money such as beekeeping and chicken raising. To get outside assistance they registered as a formal organization with the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI). Soon afterward SARI started a project called Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Project (CA-SARD). As one of the most active self-help groups in the area SARI included the Eotulelo group in the CA-SARD project. The CA-SARD project started a farmer field school in the Eotulelo self-help group to help them implement conservation agriculture. The farmer field school has allowed the farmers to acquire considerable knowledge and problem solving skills for implementing conservation agriculture even though its only been running since July 2004. The Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, seeing the successful results of farmer field schools, decided to start 100 pilot farmer field schools in ten districts each with 10 groups. CA-SARD is advising the ministry on technologies to be copied and shown to farmer field schools.